Re: A model for the humanities

1

I approve of this idea.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:01 PM
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2

Fucking A.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:08 PM
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3

I have given a talk in a tavern! For science outreach, so not exactly seminal, but it was lots of fun.


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:08 PM
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4

I have lectured people in bars, but, you know, it wasn't an organized thing.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:11 PM
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5

Lecturing my tablemates and gesticulating drunkenly while scribbling on napkins? Um, no, never, why do you ask?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:13 PM
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6

I wonder if I could figure out a way to make a living giving lectures in taverns. That sounds like the perfect job.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:16 PM
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7

No no, someone in another thread said that you have to hand the pencil to the other person and let them figure it out. See.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:18 PM
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8

7: No, that's just if you actually want them to learn something.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:19 PM
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9

You could become a beer expert.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:21 PM
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10

Well, it's hogwash.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:21 PM
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11

9: I went to a beer dinner where this dude gave a talk. He's kind of a cheeseball, but it was pretty interesting.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:25 PM
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12

You shouldn't wash hogs in beer. Such a waste.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:28 PM
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13

12: So true, but "hogwash" is such an excellent word that I feel compelled to use it now and then.

"Poppycock" is also good.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:31 PM
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14

You shouldn't put your cock in poppies, either.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:32 PM
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15

Balderdash.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:33 PM
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16

14: Additionally, if you experience nincoms in your poop, consult with a physician immediately.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:35 PM
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17

Fiddlesticks.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:37 PM
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18

Fiddlesticks.

Is that the kind of cursing you engage in casually?! Well, I never!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:42 PM
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19

JP's cursing at the meetup was more along the lines of comment 2.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:43 PM
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20

Though he may have said "fiddlesticks" as well; I wasn't listening closely to him the whole time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:44 PM
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21

20: Horsefeathers!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:47 PM
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22

I hope he doesn't pronounce the "g" present in the words of comment 2, because that would just be silly. No wonder you all noticed it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:47 PM
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23

I don't recall him doing that, no.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:52 PM
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24

Sometime it takes the "g", sometime it doesn't. It's a nuanced, situational thing. Two subtly different phrases. Try it at home right now and see.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 7:52 PM
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25

Besides the cursing, JP was also gesticulating, perhaps even drunkenly (though I didn't notice any scribbling on napkins), which is how the beer ended up on his pants. Sorry about that.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:00 PM
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26

I wonder if I could figure out a way to make a living giving lectures in taverns. That sounds like the perfect job.

There is a small market for people who can give popular talks on academic topics on cruise ships full of intellectually minded retirees.

One of the more poignant stories in Elizabeth Costello involves the title character getting such a gig. On the ship she meets an African novelist who had been a former lover of hers. Once, he had been voice of the oppressed people on his continent, and now he gives lectures to white people on a cruise ship on the future of the African Novel.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:06 PM
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27

Sometime it takes the gesticulating, sometime it doesn't.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:08 PM
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28

Sorry about that.

Are you admitting here that you subtly repositioned the beer mid-gesture or something?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:08 PM
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29

There is a small market for people who can give popular talks on academic topics on cruise ships full of intellectually minded retirees.

Yeah, I'm aware of that, but I think they mostly want people with PhDs. Plus, you know, cruise ship. I'm holding out for the tavern version.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:09 PM
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30

27: It's like "s" that way.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:10 PM
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31

I had a professor in grad school who'd give lectures at Leisure World (a giant retirement community) from time to time. He enjoyed it. Can't remember whether they paid him.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:17 PM
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32

I was a guest speaker at Drinking Liberally once. I was ranting a bit earlier this evening with a pre-dinner beer. This may be my only talent.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:22 PM
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33

Are you admitting here that you subtly repositioned the beer mid-gesture or something?

I am not. My beer was an innocent victim of gesticulation. I was merely expressing my sympathy over your having done that to yourself.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 8:33 PM
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34

I lectured at the meetup this weekend. Everyone was really nice about it.

One of the best professors I've ever had claims he went to grad school because of events that transpired while he was working in a record shop in some rural town. People would come in, and find themselves spellbound by the way he talked about pop music. It became a more organized thing, until they started hosting his lectures over beer and drugs at someone's house. They called him "Professor" and when they got drunk, they'd say, "You gotta get a PhD, man. You gotta go to Harvard."

So he did. Apparently he kept up teaching a course every now and again on 20th-century pop songs that was very popular.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:10 PM
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35

(He did not study pop music at Harvard. He did, like, litracher.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:10 PM
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36

34 describes the fantasies of every record store employee everywhere. It's like the Quentin Tarantino story, but without video part.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:23 PM
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37

Right? It's a good thing he actually turned out to be wickedly intelligent For Real and not just record-store-stoner intelligent. Small towns often suffer from the "Wow, you could [sing on TV/go to Harvard/be the President]" syndrome pretty bad.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:26 PM
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38

Lectures in taverns are all very well, but I can't recommend political orations in a beer-hall.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 9:57 PM
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39

Yeah, you might get addled from the beer and putsch your foot in your mouth.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:05 PM
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40

Small towns often suffer from the "Wow, you could [sing on TV/go to Harvard/be the President]" syndrome pretty bad.

This phenomenon occurred to me when I was digitizing old home videos over winter break. I was a pretty obnoxious little kid, but smart, and if we hadn't moved to Albuquerque when I was six I think I could have easily ended up as a big fish in a small pond, with an overly high opinion of my own abilities that would likely have caused trouble for me and everyone else when I finally left that bubble. Being thrown into a much larger pond before that happened put me on a different trajectory, where I became very shy and withdrawn at school and in public (although at least part of this was probably just those aspects of my personality beginning to emerge), although I was still confident and annoying at home. That kind of sucked for me at the time, but I eventually more or less came out of it, and I think it made me a better person. I'm sure I would have done fine in Flagstaff or Page, and I would probably have still gone to a fancy college and everything, but it would have been a very different experience. Albuquerque was so much bigger that there was no way I was the smartest kid in school, and I could see that and adjust my self-image appropriately.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-22-10 10:05 PM
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41

40: At some point I saw J/m W/ts/n give a reminiscing sort of talk in which he claimed that Indiana U. had been the best possible place for him to be a grad student because he was the smartest person there. For the (purportedly) former smartest person at Indiana U., that seemed to me like an incredibly dumb way to think. Make the pond higher!


Posted by: Gabardine Bathyscaphe | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:09 AM
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42

I'm sure this stuff happens where you are, you just haven't found it yet. I've heard of pub philosophy groups, in London and Oxford, and of course there's Skeptics in the Pub. I'm sure there are more. Look, these people got money from the Govt to have a discussion groups in pubs!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:14 AM
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43

Yes, I've been to student run 'in the pub' discussion groups in Oxford. Not as accessible to the general public as some others, though, although the philosophy one I went to was mostly students of subjects other than philosophy, so was interesting on the level.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:41 AM
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44

Pub or perish.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:59 AM
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45

Skeptics in the Pub is great. And the one in London is held really near my work, which is handy.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:12 AM
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46

Changes in academic standards: in 1860s Europe, it was entirely acceptable for a reference in a published paper to read "Bloke in pub (personal communication), 1859".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:22 AM
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47

46. More or less got away with that in my Masters' diss., late 20th century. It was 'Extensive quote, [named tenured academic], Personal Communication', and I didn't mention that she'd said it in the pub. If anybody had objected I'd have been happy to take it out, but I wanted to see what happened. Nobody objected, but then they didn't publish it either.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:36 AM
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48

You still see references to personal correspondence in published papers.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:25 AM
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49

Yes, but you normally cite them by name, rather than "bloke in pub". Sorry I didn't make that clear.

I've also seen citations to "personal experience" which appear mainly intended to put on dog.

The best one was in a history of European resistance during the Second World War, in a chapter discussing the sort of equipment that SOE and other agencies supplied. It went along the lines of:
"The wire saws, in particular, proved valuable; easily concealed, they were nonetheless able to saw rapidly through the few strips of metal that held in place the bars in most Gestapo cells."[Footnoted as "personal experience".]


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:31 AM
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50

You see it often enough in contemporary history. Of the stuff I've read it's most common in stuff on the history of the opposition in the seventies and eighties in Poland, especially with historians, foreign or domestic, who established ties with various dissidents back in the communist period. You'll get 'Adam Michnik, private conversation'. I always suspect that means 'I think Adas said that, but after all those shots it's hard to remember.'


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:52 AM
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51

re: 49

Heh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:54 AM
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52

Yes, but you normally cite them by name, rather than "bloke in pub".

On the other hand, this can be a valid journalistic gambit, if you don' take it too seriously. I knew a man (a prominent theologian and philsopher) who used to walk up to his friends in pubs and say: "Say 'a, b, c, d, e'". Friend would dutifully repeat the sentence he had been asked to say, and in due course a popular article would appear somewhere beginning, "As the man in the pub was saying to me the other day, 'a, b, c, d, e'..."


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:55 AM
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53

One of the Episcopal churches around here had a series called "Theology on Tap." I think that a couple of British academics came up with the idea and that Roman Catholics imported it to the U.S.

This is more in the form of outreach, though.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:04 AM
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54

26: Harvard runs trips like that, but the people giving the lectures are usually Harvard professors, so you know, first step: tenure.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:07 AM
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55

On the other hand, this can be a valid journalistic gambit

Nonsense! Only Third World taxi drivers possess that kind of penetrating wisdom.


Posted by: OPINIONATED TOM FRIEDMAN | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:19 AM
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56

44 deserves some love. Here, 44, have some love!


Posted by: Merganser | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:25 AM
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57

53: pub and parish.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:49 AM
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58

49 reminds me of an anecdote about how Christopher Lee gave advice to someone on a death scene in a movie based on his experience as a spy in World War II. Dracula knows exactly what it looks like when someone dies.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:17 AM
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59

Found the story here; Lee's story is about two-thirds of the way down the page.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:21 AM
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60

re: 58

Yes, I always wondered how David Niven felt, playing in films like The Guns of Navarrone*, when his real life experiences hadn't been really all that different.

* and also elsewhere playing the effete English toff alongside various blowhards ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:31 AM
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To the OP, AB had a grad school seminar that met once a week in taverns to discuss books - they called it Supper Club. She's attempting to replicate it at P/tt, but I don't think they'll actually be meeting outside of the classroom (among other things, it's an undergrad course).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:37 AM
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62

Since the UK has greater public acceptance of both philosophy and public drinking establishments, I'm not surprised that they are ahead of us on this front.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 8:21 AM
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63

I've also seen citations to "personal experience" which appear mainly intended to put on dog.

Merleau-Ponty in two places describes strange sensory effects of mescaline, cited in endnotes to J.-P. Sartre's unpublished description.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 8:44 AM
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64

Anyway, it doesn't count if you hold your sections or whatever in the pub. Public lectures in the public tavern!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:02 AM
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65

64: So when and where will you be spearheading this new trend?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:05 AM
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66

I can tell that you only want to know so you can come and heckle, M/tchell.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:09 AM
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67

There's a science-outreach-at-the-pub deal here that's been going strong for 6 or 7 years now, I believe. Sounded pretty fun, but I haven't been myself.

I wonder if a philosophy-in-the-pub event would go over well at my work? We get some geography, geology and cultural studies people in occasionally already, but just as their department happy-hour or seminar reading group, nothing more organized than that. But one of our new tech guys is a musician-cum-philosopher, and he regularly holds forth on Zizek or Wittgenstein or whoever. Of course, he dances little jigs to entertain people too, and I don't suppose we could expect that of most philosophers.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:16 AM
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60: and the famous anecdote of Richard Todd, who jumped on D-Day as part of the operation to seize Pegasus Bridge, went back to acting after the war, and appeared in The Longest Day playing the commander of the operation to seize Pegasus Bridge. (He turned down the role of "Richard Todd" because he didn't think it was a very interesting part.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:26 AM
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69

I can tell that you only want to know so you can come and heckle, M/tchell.

No, I'm pretty sure I have to wash my hair that night.

Of course, he dances little jigs to entertain people too, and I don't suppose we could expect that of most philosophers.

Well, there's always Neal "150 BPM" the Ethical Werewolf.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:27 AM
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70

I would be more than happy to set up a dance/lecture booking for NtEW. He can even sleep in my guestroom.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:35 AM
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71

No offense to those currently here, but where the hell is everyone else today?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:49 AM
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72

71: I'm here! I can't let having nothing to say stop me!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:53 AM
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73

I am silently monitoring you, m/tch. It is for your own good.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 9:55 AM
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74

Do philosophers these days still drink?

Do they dance?

How about a combination debate/dance off competition?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:01 AM
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75

It does seem like commenting used to be more evenly spread out through the day. I wonder if the decline of frequent West Coast commenters has something to do with that? And of course we have lost several people (ogged, DSquared, Emerson just to name a few) who were good at keeping arguments going.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:03 AM
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74: That's so crazy it just might work! We can use the old barn! And Fred can sew the costumes, and Betty can rig the lights!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:05 AM
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74: Sort of like the Nordic Combined! We should come up with a snappy logo for it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:05 AM
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78

And of course we have lost several people (ogged, DSquared, Emerson just to name a few) who were good at keeping arguments going.

No we haven't! I mean, no they weren't! I mean, no . . . aww crap, I'm no good at this.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:07 AM
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79

That's the trouble with your Americans. No good at arguing...

[trying to keep my end up]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:11 AM
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80

Actually, I was also going to point out that Ttam and OFE seem to be the only Britishers who still comment regularly. But I may be confused about other people's nationalities.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:13 AM
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81

76, 77: We would also need competitors and judges. Any suggestions?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:15 AM
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82

Using the evidence provided by my tame house philosopher:
Do philosophers these days still drink?

Oh yes. Perhaps not as much as they did in their 20s, but certainly yes.

Do they dance?

No. Aside from that shift-weight-between-front-and-back-legs thing boys used to do at Fugazi shows. (In fact, at the part of his brother's very traditional wedding where the groom would dance with the maid-of-honor, the DJ merely dedicated Blossom Dearie's version of "I Won't Dance" to non-dancing philosophical best men.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:16 AM
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83

80: asilon and quasi-poster Messily are Brits. I think there are a handful of other regular irregulars.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:17 AM
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84

re: 80

ajay, and I think Ginger Yellow.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:17 AM
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85

80: So what's asilon, chopped liver?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:17 AM
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86

Oh aye, and asilon. And Alex occasionally.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:18 AM
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87

Messily isn't British, she's Deaf. Also Montanan, I think.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:18 AM
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88

83: Well, EMCnotsquared has certainly been doing yeoman's duty recently, that's for sure. I haven't noticed asilon around as much though. But that could just be looking at the wrong threads or whatever.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:19 AM
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89

Also, I was in Britain.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:20 AM
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90

Aha! I did not think Messily was British!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:21 AM
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91

Most of those other folx don't comment any more than I do, and I don't really consider myself a frequent commenter.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:21 AM
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92

91: You can quit anytime you want to?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:22 AM
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93

88 - here's me been trying to impress you and you're just ignoring me Natilo. *sob*

W.Breeze - where's he from?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:26 AM
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94

92: I'm only going to do it until I need glasses.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:26 AM
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93: I think you're right that W. Breeze is from or at least resides in Britain.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:28 AM
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96

I comment a lot in my head. Last week I had visitors and then I went visiting. I guess a week's a long time in Unfogged-land.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:29 AM
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I'm a UK national, if that helps. I only ever visited for short periods, but I'd be happy to represent the colonies if needed. I think I ought to count as at least 1/3 of a Brit.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:35 AM
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98

Messily isn't British, she's Deaf.

Like anybody can tell the difference.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:35 AM
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99

Yeah, I haven't gone too many weeks without popping up once in awhile to write a sonnet or whatever, but again, comparing my dilatory and inchoate commenting to anyone else's makes me think more of their commitment. To commenting.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:35 AM
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100

I'm an Anglophile, chaps.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:36 AM
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101

||

It's snowing! In Austin! Leading storm name contenders currently being twittered about:

SnowFreakinWay
OhSnowYouDidn't

|>


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:37 AM
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102

I'm British where it counts. Lasseszzzz.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:38 AM
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103

101: I was going to call, but since you're here, they're probably going to send us home from work early, say about 1pm.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:41 AM
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104

Snow kidding?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:43 AM
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105

101: How about: Sn'oh!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:43 AM
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106

103: It's not even freezing!!!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:45 AM
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107

Snow by Snow Wet Festival


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:45 AM
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106: But it's SNOWING!!! WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!

But actually, a lot of people here commute in from places where it is already freezing, the schools are letting out, etc.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:46 AM
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Also, a nutjob crashed a plane into one of our buildings last week, so they're treating us with extra special care this week.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:48 AM
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110

109: But Steve King told me he totally gets why someone would want to kill you.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:51 AM
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111

I'm here, but I'm not British, and I think I'm getting sick so I can't promise to be interesting.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:51 AM
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112

On this day in 1836, the siege at the Alamo began. Coincidence??!!?!?1!!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:53 AM
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113

82: philosophers have back legs? Do you mean philosopher-centaurs?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:56 AM
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87, 90: That is the strangest damn thing. Why the hell did I think she was a Brit.

Maybe it's that the Brits all pretend they can't hear me, so I just assumed....

I'm especially sorry, Cec.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:56 AM
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110: He's not the only one saying shite like that.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:57 AM
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116

113: Chiron!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:58 AM
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117

-. +?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:58 AM
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118

112: Good thing it didn't snow, or those Great Texas Heroes would probably have all gone home early, and San Antonio would have very little reason to exist anymore.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 10:59 AM
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I'M NOT A CENTAUR, BUT I'VE GOT BACK LEGS!


Posted by: OPINIONATED GREGOR SAMSA | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:01 AM
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112: you think that's where everybody's gone?

114: well, it is a fairly British-sounding name.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:01 AM
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well, it is a fairly British-sounding name.

I think you mean "British-looking".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:04 AM
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116: Chiron would totally be into Fugazi.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:16 AM
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115: Really? I know you don't actually think DS was condoning Stack's actions. Why characterize his comments like that?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:19 AM
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122: Of course. He's the straight-edge centaur.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:20 AM
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And if people want me to drop this just let me know. But he started it.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:21 AM
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123: I'm not sure where you're getting "condoning" from?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:23 AM
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Every time something like the Stack incident happens there's a little flurry of analysis that inevitably completely misses the key issue: It was suicide. From the standpoint of the person committing the act, that's the overwhelming central point. Why did the guy decide that death was preferable to life? His little manifesto provides insight, but there's nothing in it that demands his death. People try to frame these things in terms of hate, but the proper frame is despair.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:27 AM
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I read oudemia's joke as implying his support, but on a second read I see that's mistaken. Still, I think you are unfair in your assertion of similarity.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:31 AM
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Suicide plus revenge.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:37 AM
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People try to frame these things in terms of hate, but the proper frame is despair.

Well, Stack was clearly trying to commit mass murder at the same time as suicide, so . . . .

128: "Steve King told me he totally gets why someone would want to kill you."

vs.

"And frankly, he's precisely the kind of result you'd expect . . ."

What difference do you see?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:37 AM
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King is validating the choice of target, while DS is looking for social causes for Stacklike behavior.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:43 AM
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129: Not just revenge: heroism and grandiosity. He wanted to redeem his life.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:47 AM
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131: I think both are lame attempts to explain the event by labelling it as understandable / to be expected.

And "looking for"? It sure sounded to me like DS had already found his reasons and was done looking.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:55 AM
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129, 130: Agreed, but you can commit mass murder without killing yourself in the process. Lots of people feel the kind of hatred Stack felt but do not go on to kill anyone. I'm interested in what tips them over the edge, and I can't see the critical moment as being anything but the one where they decide that death is preferable to life. Perhaps the derangement of their mind is so extreme that the inevitability of their own death takes second place to the desire for revenge, but the instinct to live is a powerful one and I am reluctant to simply write these people off as nuts - certainly that's not a very productive way of trying to understand their motivations.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:55 AM
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And I'm sorry I've killed unfogged.
But it had it coming.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:56 AM
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98: British girls are easy.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:58 AM
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132 is good. I hadn't considered that. It's a powerful motivation, sort of an attempt at redemption, making yourself relevant and important. Facing a long life of spiraling into irrelevance and obscurity might be sufficiently unpleasant a prospect that going out in a blaze of glory is an attractive alternative.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 11:58 AM
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134: This reminds me of the classic Jim Henley April Fool's post in which he decided that the neocons were right, because the Madrid bombers used a remote trigger rather than doing a suicide operation -- proof that the U.S was winning it's war against Islamo-Nihilism.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:00 PM
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Is it the lameness or the attempt to explain that bothers you? And yeah, "looking for" implied more uncertainty than was present. I badly need an editor. And a writer.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:01 PM
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139: I've been meaning to ask you Eggplant -- do you eat library schools?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:04 PM
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139: Me too! Can Unfogged hire me a few interns?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:05 PM
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140, 141: Oh, no! My stupid killed Unfogged!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:22 PM
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||
Look lady, I don't know why you're acting all shocked. The sign says right there in great big letters that this is the Meat Counter.
|>


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:25 PM
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What does peep do when it isnt Easter?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:25 PM
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144: Just sit on the counter and look sweet.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:30 PM
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140: No, a different Eggplant. Why does Gorman hate us so?


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:31 PM
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146: I don't get it either. Baba ghanoush is delicious!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:36 PM
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143: As Buffy was obliged to say: Double meat is double sweet!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:38 PM
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I want to like baba ghanoush, but I just cant. Same goes for peeps. I like the singular peep, but peeps are only good for microwaving.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:40 PM
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143: And how are you supposed to count to 11 with your pants on?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:41 PM
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With enough garlic and olive oil, almost any commenter is edible.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:44 PM
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149: Have you ever made it fresh? It's only really good within a few hours of preparing it, up to a day. Packaged baba ghanouj is kinda grody.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:44 PM
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Have you ever made it fresh?

</smooveb>


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:47 PM
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Fresh, homemade peeps are really delicious.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:49 PM
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154: I'm fresh and homemade!

Have I mentioned lately that I'm not named after the candy?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:51 PM
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I'm not occasionally British...with me it's a full-time job.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:53 PM
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Apparently homemade peeps (the marshmallows, not you) are quite the popular thing. Teach me to make a joke.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:55 PM
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peep is one of those Tyson fryers whose chest is so large that walking is almost impossible?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:55 PM
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158: What?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:57 PM
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157: I know I'm not popular -- you didn't have to rub it in.

I also had no idea that there were homemade peeps.



Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:58 PM
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The chickens that are bred for eating. Produced to have larger breasts, almost incapable of walking.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 12:59 PM
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160: from Martha Stewart, no less.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:00 PM
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I don't understand why anyone spends time trying to figure out the reasons for right wing terrorism, when it's so completely obvious: they hate our freedoms.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:03 PM
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161: Ok. But what does that have to do with me?
My breasts are small and perky!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:03 PM
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I've made homemade peeps before. Not the chick kind -- the bunny kind, with a cookie cutter. It was so not worth the effort.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:04 PM
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||

Our job candidates keep turning down our job offers. It's very depressing.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:06 PM
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165: Sounds like the kind of task that should earn you a parenting medal.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:09 PM
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Regular old homemade marshmallows are totally worth the effort, though!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:11 PM
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That's the very thing! I wanted to try homemade marshmallows, because I thought they would taste better than storebought, and then I ended up making them into peeps shapes and with colored sugar, because at that point, why not. But it turned out that what I don't like about marshmallows isn't the industrialness, it's the taste of marshmallow itself. Eggwhite plus gelatin plus sugar just isn't very good.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:15 PM
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Sounds like the kind of task that should earn you a parenting medal.

I'm not in those Olympics. I totally have a gold in self-indulgent single adultness though.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:17 PM
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I don't like to just eat them as snacks, but in hot chocolate I find them to be the bomb.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:18 PM
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168: Really? If there's a recipe online you like, link?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:18 PM
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170: I don't know. AWB certainly talks a good game in that category.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:18 PM
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I need to revive my efforts to start a cult and find a way to bring that breeder/cooker rfts and her clan into it.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:20 PM
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This has good advice about not getting too sticky. I did not feel the need to get egg whites involved though. The recipe here should work fine. They aren't vegetarian, obviously, but I made them anyway.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:27 PM
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The marshamallow recipe inevitably leads to a graham cracker recipe that looks delicious.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:37 PM
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-a


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 1:37 PM
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176: Those do look delicious.

I really will have to get a mixer if I ever want to do much baking, won't I?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:04 PM
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I could really go for some graham crackers now.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:05 PM
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178: People baked for hundred of years without mixers. If you're going to the trouble of baking, why make it easy for yourself?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:07 PM
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I've given a talk in a pub, in Germany.

(Sorry to be on-topic; I'm in a funny time zone.)


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:23 PM
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177 led me to stare at "graham," trying to figure out which a was extraneous.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:28 PM
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Datapoint: before I had a mixer, I effectively never baked. And that's over a timespan of 6+ years of increasingly serious and effortful cooking.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:30 PM
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Yeah, I bake more often when I'm visiting my standmixer at my sister's house. The nephews like to raise the bowl and turn the mixer on and off.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:41 PM
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Data counterpoint: M/tch is so anti-m/xer (as a practical, not a philosophical point) that he whips cream by hand. I mean, what exactly has industrial progress been for?!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:41 PM
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183: Did you do a follow-up study after you had a mixer?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:44 PM
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M/tch is so anti-m/xer (as a practical, not a philosophical point) that he whips cream by hand. I mean, what exactly has industrial progress been for?!

I own a stand mixer and use it quite a bit, but I still usually whip cream by hand.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:45 PM
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Technically speaking I'm a Brit. True, I've been there a grand total of five times, never for longer than a week and a half. But my mom was born there and spent the first year and a half of her life in Britain, so I was able to pick up citizenship.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:48 PM
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Me too on the handwhipping cream. The mixer is great, but it's for heavier stuff that I'm not strong enough to beat to fluffiness. Cream takes two or three minutes, and no great effort. I usually do meringue by hand too -- I'm always afraid with the mixer of going through "stiff but not dry" to "dry".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 2:53 PM
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I find whipping cream by hand annoying and fatiguing, and it's not like I haven't developed the specialized muscles for it.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:04 PM
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You must be very dedicated to handwhipped cream if you steadfastly develop your specialized muscles despite finding whipping annoying and fatiguing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:08 PM
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186: Oh yeah, I forgot that you people don't actually live with me. I now bake all the time - probably once a week on average (at least during the part of the year when it's not too hot to bake). I do bake things that don't require the mixer. But the difference from before is stark, and it's mostly because the mixer brought previously-laborious recipes (like tollhouse cookies) within easy reach.

Hand-whipping cream utterly baffles me. Among other things, the whisk attachment for AB's immersion blender does it in seconds - life is too short to wait 2 extra minutes for whipped cream. On occasions when I've needed to do it by hand, I always just get it somewhat thickened and call it good enough.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:09 PM
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71: Well, I was working. I mean, I comment from work all the time, but today I actually had stuff to do. And quite a bit of it. I suppose I'm lucky that it wasn't the stuff I expected I would have to do.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:09 PM
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I went to a mixer baked.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:12 PM
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||

Gates Calls Europe Anti-War Mood Danger to Peace

|>


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:13 PM
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ANTI-WAR IS ANTI-PEACE

BUT WAR IS NOT PEACE
YYet


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:15 PM
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191: I assume he's just referring to his cry, cry, masturbatewhip, cry workout routine.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:15 PM
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||

They don't even bother trying.

"We're losers. Why won't you vote for us?"

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:17 PM
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Thanks for explaining to me that Bave was joking about masturbation.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:18 PM
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198: Another day, another piece of evidence that McManus was right about Obama all along.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:24 PM
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Still missing: Evidence that there were any better candidates to vote for.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:29 PM
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I was terribly embarrassed one day when helping a friend at a dinner party. She handed me a bowl of cream and a whisk and asked me to turn it into whipping cream, assuming that since I cook a lot I needed no further direction. I'd never whipped cream without an electric mixer of some sort, but I figured it couldn't be too hard. I dutifully started stirring* away; about a minute or two into it she looks over and realizes I'm doing it wrong and has to give me a mini prep lesson. The embarrassing part was being asked, in a very dry tone of voice, by someone who spends three months out of the year without electricity, "Oh, you've never whipped cream by hand, have you?" Lost all my cooking cred, right there.

*Yes, stirring. Emphatically not really whisking. Terrible.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:29 PM
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Lost all my cooking cred, right there.

Could be worse. At least you didn't just write "the mixer brought previously-laborious recipes (like tollhouse cookies) within easy reach."


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:37 PM
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Hah. I use my mixer a lot but rarely for all that laborious of things. I like to knead by hand, for instance. (Unless it's a really sticky dough, in which case, stand mixer for the win!)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:48 PM
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Have I plugged that Artisan Bread on Five Minutes A Day book lately? No kneading, and really spiffy crusty bread with tender crumb and big stretchy holes in it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:51 PM
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LB, I bought that book because of you! It is awesome.

But I actually really like to knead, so I do occasionally make other sorts.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:56 PM
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200: He's instituted sharia?!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 3:58 PM
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201: That's true, but not remotely comforting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:02 PM
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203: Look, pal, if you think beating butter with a wooden spoon is effortless, be my guest. As soon as you churn the butter yourself, of course.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:03 PM
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207: Of all the things bob has said about Obama, surely that's not one of them.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:03 PM
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210: Someone here in 2008 was making dark and loony insinuations on that front. I thought it was bob, but even if it was, he was probably trolling anyway.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:07 PM
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||

Words cannot express my disinterest in this sort of thing.

I'm reminded of a line about Modern art, that it started when artists stopped looking at human models and decided they could come up with a better idea.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:10 PM
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The trouble with baking is that it results in stuff that I would just eat.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:12 PM
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212: Me too. My brother offered to take me, and I suppose I ought to go, but I would sort of rather just go to Per Se again.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:15 PM
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I've never once left a meal thinking, "Well that was delicious, but not sufficiently groundbreaking." I mean, I like new foods, blah blah, but really well-prepared food, of any type, is its own reward. I don't need to feel that it's cutting edge in order to validate my experience.

I might add that this amaaaaazing dessert is, uh, chocolate, mint, and coconut. Wow, I've never tasted those things together before.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:21 PM
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Further OT: JRoth, is "A Pattern Language" worth reading for someone who doesn't know a buttress from a hole in the ground?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:24 PM
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I don't know, everyone I know who has been to Alinea has loved it. Though I suppose the sort of person who has been to Alinea is likely to be the sort of person who would love it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:24 PM
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Sure, TJ. Might as well read A Pattern Language? It has neato ideas for spaces, in lots of small chapters. Good for browsing.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:26 PM
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Also, I bet that you could tell a buttress from a hole in the ground if you were pressed to choose.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:27 PM
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I'm completely in agreement with 212 and 215. The thought of spending however much money that must cost for the privilege of sitting there for minutes on end while the sous chef spreads crap in various states all over the tablecloth, presumably while I'm supposed to be oohing and ahhing? Nope. In general I find tableside prep tedious (and I've been on both sides of the customer/preparer line), and this just takes it to a whole new level.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:27 PM
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In the nitpicking spirit, I will point out that that was the head chef, not the sous chef.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:28 PM
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LB, I bought that book because of you! It is awesome.

I also bought that book but *looks embarrassed* have yet to actually try their recipes. I really should give it a go sometime.

Speaking of which, you never did write a post about Mark Kleiman's book.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:29 PM
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I bet TJ couldn't find a buttress if there were a belltower tied to it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:29 PM
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221: I would only be able to afford the sous chef option, Paren.

Classist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:30 PM
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I don't get why restaurants serve anything besides hard-boiled eggs. Hard-boiled eggs are damn good, you know? Why mess with that. You can prepare in advance and keep 'em in the fridge, and when somebody orders one, boom, here's your egg. All this pretentious frippery leaves me cold. I just want a hard-boiled egg.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:32 PM
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225: But a hard boiled egg in a an adabsurdum reduction sauce is exquisite!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:36 PM
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225: Sometimes only a deviled egg will do, Tweety.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:38 PM
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I hard boil my eggs by hand.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:38 PM
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The thought of spending however much money that must cost for the privilege of sitting there for minutes on end while the sous chef spreads crap in various states all over the tablecloth, presumably while I'm supposed to be oohing and ahhing? Nope. In general I find tableside prep tedious (and I've been on both sides of the customer/preparer line), and this just takes it to a whole new level.

What if things that are different are interesting?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:40 PM
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229: Um, what? You think it's the "different" that I'm objecting to?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:41 PM
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Hand whipping cream, not that hard, and overall no more work than dealing with my early seventies crap electric mixer. If I baked a lot of yeasty dough that needed lots of kneading I might be into a standmixer, but the things are expensive as hell, take up a ton of space, and that's the only useful thing they do that a food processor doesn't. So if I kneaded dough a lot, I might just decide it's time to take up climbing again - perfect hand muscle exercise. (As a regular climber in my teens and early twenties, I can confidently say Bave is wrong)

Chalk me up with those who find Alinea intriguing, but who would not make it among their top five choices for getting rid of a kidney. I did WD-40 a while back, and my verdict was: interesting, glad I tried it, once. From a pure taste and general sensual experience perspective it didn't come close to the top ambitious restaurants I've been to, and wasn't even better than a lot of the better mid-range ones. For those who wonder why anyone would want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a dinner, think the taste equivalent of a several hour long multiple orgasm.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:45 PM
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I'm actually very supportive of people who don't want to go to Alinea because it might make it easier for me to get a reservation at some point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:47 PM
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For those who wonder why anyone would want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a dinner, think the taste equivalent of a several hour long multiple orgasm.

What if we don't approve of spending money on those, either?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:47 PM
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I like ()'s "restaurant = whore" argument. Could be useful in encouraging Americans to cook more at home.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:49 PM
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So is everybody colluding to not notice Bave's masturbation joke because it's funnier that way?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:49 PM
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234: Or not.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:50 PM
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I jest, but I do find it amusing to contrast:

I might be into a standmixer, but the things are expensive as hell,

with

For those who wonder why anyone would want to spend a couple hundred bucks on a dinner,



Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:50 PM
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It was until 235.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:50 PM
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The thought of spending however much money that must cost for the privilege of sitting there for minutes on end while the sous chef spreads crap in various states all over the tablecloth, presumably while I'm supposed to be oohing and ahhing? Nope. In general I find tableside prep tedious (and I've been on both sides of the customer/preparer line), and this just takes it to a whole new level.

The tableside prep is only one small part of the experience at Alinea; whatever you think of that, Achatz at least realizes that the food has to taste good, and it does. (And it's not all avant-garde, either.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:51 PM
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Not avant-garde? That's even worse! I've seen those flavors combined before.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:52 PM
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I've in very broad agreement with 231.

Among other things, the whisk attachment for AB's immersion blender does it in seconds

I could be seduced by this, as it's a single item that doesn't take up much space and allows more fine control than a stand mixer. A stand mixer just overindustrializes the task of whipping cream, and about half the time whoever's using it ends up overwhipping and producing something lumpy and greasy and not at all creamy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:53 PM
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I need to stop commenting and make marmalade before my blood oranges go completely off. Laziness is overtaking me.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:54 PM
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You know what restaurant is kind of avant-garde and also unfuckingbelievably delicious? This one right here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:54 PM
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237 So do I, sometimes.

234 But if I cook at home for a date who brings a nice bottle of wine, then doesn't that just mean I'm the kurwa?


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:54 PM
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Extremely expensive restaurants are a (relatively!) cheap and (relatively!) available way for folks to have an I-am-one-of-the-richest-people-in-the-world experiences. I doubt anyone who reads this blog owns a Bugatti Veyron, but with a bit of savings it's not that hard for a lot of folks to have $800 to drop on a dinner for two once a year or so -- I'm pretty sure we've had conversations here about Alinea before from people who went there, and of course the founding father famously did a trip to the French Laundry.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:56 PM
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243: I need to go there one of these days. This place is still my gold standard for amazing food in all senses of the word, though.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:57 PM
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I doubt anyone who reads this blog owns a Bugatti Veyron

Well, it's a lease.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:57 PM
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I aspire to the $100 meal for two. Some day I'll have a real income.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:58 PM
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I have sat in a Bugatti! Not the Veyron, though.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 4:59 PM
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I have sat in a Veyron. Unfortunately, it was at an auto show and about 25,000 other people did the same thing, so I don't feel that special.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:01 PM
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I have sat in a Veyron. Unfortunately, it was at an auto show and about 25,000 other people did the same thing, so I don't feel that special.

This was the clown car version?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:04 PM
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Yeah, me too. The EB110 though.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:04 PM
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250: was there pee on the seat?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:06 PM
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The porn version.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:06 PM
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I'll take that as a yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:10 PM
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Well, the pee was in the form of a delicate urine, truffle, and egg yolk emulsion, so, you know.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:15 PM
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That was me up there. Like you care.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:16 PM
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257: I was hoping it was Achatz himself.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:17 PM
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Brilliant! By preparing a dish that you sit on, the chef is able to invert the entire process of digestion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:17 PM
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257 to 211.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:17 PM
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I mean, I like new foods, blah blah, but really well-prepared food, of any type, is its own reward. I don't need to feel that it's cutting edge in order to validate my experience.

Oh yeah, and this is totally a false dichotomy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:20 PM
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I would like to try a dish that tastes like the sound of chanting monks.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:22 PM
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I would like to try a dish that tastes like the sound of one hand clapping.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:25 PM
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I'd like to have a few hundred bucks available for dinners every now and then, so that I could spend it all on a nicer place to live instead.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:27 PM
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Yeah, 261 is right. I mean, forget experimental emulsions and test tubes. I had a spicy chocolate bar a few days ago (the Vosges Oaxaca bar), which was a totally new flavor combo for me and it was both a very good chocolate bar AND made doubly exciting by the fact that it was new to me.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:28 PM
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262: Try this.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:29 PM
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264: A nice place to live composed of a melange of drywall emulsion and freeze dried spackle, all topped with stucco foam, no doubt.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:31 PM
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WAHACA!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:32 PM
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266: You've just caused me to realize that there totally needs to be a cocktail called a Happy Monday.

(Drinking one would compel Standpipe Bridgeplate to exclaim "HALLELUJAH!")


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:36 PM
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You know what tastes good? Tacos. I'm eating one right now.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:39 PM
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||

On the radio, there was a snoundbyte where some local lady described the big flakes as "Texas-sized". That seems idiotic to claim that Texas-sized snowflakes are gigantic and heavy.

|>


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:41 PM
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271: Whatever, yankee.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:45 PM
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I'm actually very supportive of people who don't want to go to Alinea because it might make it easier for me to get a reservation at some point.

Is it actually that difficult? Because when Rory and I decided we wanted to go there for our birthdays a few years ago, all we did was mention it to my mom, who got us a reservation for just a few days later. I wouldn't be surprised if this is some sort of astonishing feat, as my mom does have a way with such things. But I'm thinking maybe I didn't appreciate that aspect of the meal adequately at the time.

Also, can I just mention (since it's been a couple years almost) how utterly charming Achatz was? Utterly charming. Invited us to tour his kitchen and was very sweet in telling Rory how everything worked. He even remembered her a few weeks later when we attended a demonstration show thing he did in Evanston. My crush, it has not faded.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:48 PM
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273: Charming? The man pisses on car seats, for Christ's sake.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:52 PM
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Is it actually that difficult?

I have no idea. I also don't live in Chicago. I suppose I could make a reservation now, but then the time of the reservation would come and I woudn't be in Chicago, and that would be sad for me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:54 PM
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I had this for my birthday: Peppered bison tenderloin lightly smoked and served with zinfandel huckleberry sauce, porcini mushroom aiolli, potato gratin and crispy leeks. I might again. 'New to me' counts, but not for much: I'm just as happy with Franklin's Tower from that June 77 concert in Winterland, again, as any of that noise you kids listen to. On my lawn.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:57 PM
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212: Me too. My brother offered to take me, and I suppose I ought to go, but I would sort of rather just go to Per Se again.

You might enjoy the book "Service Included" written by a former server at Per Se about serving at Per Se. Very light, enjoyable read.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 5:58 PM
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276:

An excellent choice.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:10 PM
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Best meal I've had was probably at the Restaurant de Chateauvieux, though only one of the three meals I've had there fully deserved the 19 from GM. My favorite time there the meal included a fairly simple gigot cooked in a huge dutch oven filled with very fragrant hay. Best lamb ever. Not that the complicated stuff was bad, to the contrary. Their 'moderately' priced bistro is pretty good as well, though you're still looking at a good hundred bucks a person.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:12 PM
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278: I think you mean, "Awesome."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:13 PM
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278, 280: I agree: that meal sounds delicious.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:17 PM
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'New to me' counts, but not for much: I'm just as happy with Franklin's Tower from that June 77 concert in Winterland, again, as any of that noise you kids listen to. On my lawn.

This is kind of interesting, actually, in context of how Achatz described his (approach? philosophy, inspiration?). Part of what he says he is trying to achieve with his dishes is not simply something new and avant garde, but flavors and aromas and textures that will evoke memories and emotions. I remember him talking about wanting to make people recall long ago hayrides, and see in attempting to google this that either he has tried this in many ways or has told the story in many ways. I don't know, this is kind of in the same vein as that schema stuff I was getting all obsessive about yesterday -- this idea of following different cues to link in to our memory paths.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:18 PM
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282: That seems to be something like Keller's approach too: "bacon and eggs", "coffee and donuts", etc.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:21 PM
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283: Not surprising -- Achatz started out at The French Laundry. Per his Twitter, he's trying to track down the article about TFL that made him want to work under Keller.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:24 PM
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Part of what he says he is trying to achieve with his dishes is not simply something new and avant garde, but flavors and aromas and textures that will evoke memories and emotions.

Yeah, that was what really shone through in the meal we had there; Magpie's reaction to it was "this is what happens when Generation X meets fine dining". A number of the dishes were very specifically evocative of the food of our childhood.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:24 PM
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284: And not coincidentally, the woman who cooked her way through The French Laundry cookbook (and blogged about it) took on Alinea's for her next project, with amusing results.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:29 PM
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OT: Okay, so Rory just said, "Funny! I've never seen an umlaut over an "i" before!" What's the umlaut called when it's over the "i"?"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:32 PM
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286 I'd thought of getting the French Laundry cookbook, then I looked at that blog. Not a chance.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:36 PM
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"bacon and eggs", "coffee and donuts"

If I'm understanding this correctly, this is the latest* thing among chefs looking for a, what, a gestalt, a presentation, for their restaurants: at least, a slew of places in the mid-Atlantic, anyway, are on about re-imagined classics and whatnot.

So you get french fries fried in duck fat, etc. Approachable yet new! Comforting yet not just your mother's baked potato or veal cutlet or what have you.

It still has to be executed flawlessly, and I do wonder whether the execution would suffice in itself -- excellent food is excellent food -- or whether the storyline is essential.

* By "latest" I mean that it's becoming widespread, not that it's just now occurred to people.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:38 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:44 PM
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It still has to be executed flawlessly, and I do wonder whether the execution would suffice in itself -- excellent food is excellent food -- or whether the storyline is essential.

I think the execution suffices in itself -- I hadn't really obsessively read up on Achatz/Alinea/molecular gastronomy before we went, but I was thoroughly in love (love at first bite?) by the end of the meal. Learning the "storyline" thereafter does, however, enrich the experience. And, now that I think of it, aside from actually serving the dishes, the chief role of the service team was presenting the "story" of each dish.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:47 PM
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I call this game Car Seat Culinary School!

SFW? Couldn't rightly say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:48 PM
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289: Well, my impression of Keller is it's more about sort of playfully or cleverly evoking a classic combination of flavors like bacon and eggs or coffee and donuts, rather than serving up flawlessly executed premium artisinal bacon and eggs.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:54 PM
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||
Just got carded at the Garden. Never thought I'd have that experience again.
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 6:56 PM
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Of course I didn't get there first with 292. Damn you apo, apo and arthegall. Never let it be said I don't add value, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:00 PM
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It's a sad day when I can't get grammar answers from Unfogged.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:02 PM
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296: Did you ask a grammar question?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:03 PM
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I am not British. I am Montanan. I'm also not Deaf though, just deaf.

I was teaching and meeting students all day. The highlight came bright and early: one extremely frustrating student sent me an email just before class started. It said "Good morning Cecily. I am so upset because I cant go anywhere due to bowel movement is out of control. it happened to me last night and this morning. I must stay near available toilet.."

I have awesome ethics and totally respect my students and their privacy, so I immediately showed this to everyone else in the department.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:03 PM
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296: Diaeresis, maybe.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:05 PM
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All is in the archives.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:06 PM
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295 to 298. Ddong Chim and forget it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:07 PM
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300: That's like a classic thread. The shame that DS feels for being wrong and nosflow being right is palpable.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:16 PM
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Thanks guys. I feel better now.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:19 PM
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Actually, I feel even more better reading 299 immediately after 298.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:21 PM
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Duck fat, bah, the new in thing in Japan is apparently social policy schmalz

Once reflexively loyal, Toyota's suppliers are now increasingly critical of the company, which has come to represent the rendering of Japan's social contract.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-23-10 7:46 PM
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I could be seduced by this, as it's a single item that doesn't take up much space and allows more fine control than a stand mixer. A stand mixer just overindustrializes the task of whipping cream, and about half the time whoever's using it ends up overwhipping and producing something lumpy and greasy and not at all creamy.

Yeah, the only time I was using the stand mixer for whipped cream was between when AB's handmixer broke and when she got the immersion blender for Xmas, and there were definitely a couple overwhips in there (it's surprising faster than a handmixer with traditional blades). I also like the immersion blender for its intended purpose (pouring soup into a blender is such a drag, esp. with the occasional explosion of hot soup) and for the mini-processor attachment, which is perfectly sized for a quick salsa or other tiny processing jobs. It's a tool I never would have bought or even asked for, but I'm really glad we have it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:45 AM
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esp. with the occasional explosion of hot soup

Not a euphemism.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:46 AM
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261: I have trouble coming up with a better characterization of this dish.

I should add that this is of a piece with my feelings about Gehry and his ilk. The most ununtterableunlivable shit imaginable. No offense to the people who admire it, but I feel about people who are blown away by it the same thing I feel when Iris is really impressed by tacky princess shit. Gee-whiz architecture for know-nothings*.

* I fully recognize that lots of know-somethings are impressed by it. They liked L'Unité, too.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:39 AM
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308: Vindicated! The Weisman is one of my least favorite pieces of architecture in the Twin Cities, surpassed only by the new Walker, which has all of Gehry's problems without any of his panache. The only good thing to say about Gehry is that he pays his interns.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:42 AM
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stand mixer just overindustrializes the task of whipping cream, and about half the time whoever's using it ends up overwhipping and producing something lumpy and greasy and not at all creamy.

I love immersion blenders, but it is MUCH easier to make butter by accident with one than with a hand or stand mixer.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:43 AM
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re: 308

I have to admit to quite liking the L'Unité and the Narkomfin building, too. I'm definitely among the architectural know-nothings, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:48 AM
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308: I'm with you on Gehry - Ugly impractical blobjects. I'm not any kind of expert on architecture, but Gehry's work has always left me with a feeling that he's designing for the moment when the building committee stands around the model oohing and ahhing, and not for the people who will interact with the full scale building.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:48 AM
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he's designing for the moment when the building committee stands around the model oohing and ahhing, and not for the people who will interact with the full scale building.

YES. Him and a lot of others.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:53 AM
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Go ahead, ajay, make that joke again. It was great, and no one will see it at the other place.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:58 AM
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311: As an object, L'Unité is not especially offensive. As a group of homes, it's monstrous (and I mean that). A concrete playground on the roof? Upper story corridors to replace humane streets? Had the man never encountered a human settlement before?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:00 AM
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I liked Bilbao. And thought the Serra pieces were amazing in it.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:02 AM
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I have not been to Bilbao. But to me the most damning thing (so far) is that I'd seen non-stop pictures of it for 5+ years before I ever saw a model. When I saw the model, I realized that it was no more than half the size that I had understood it to be from the pictures. Completely scaleless buildings represent design failure.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:06 AM
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JRoth is trampling all over the analogy ban. Me, I think Achatz is more comparable to Bartok.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:12 AM
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How so?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:14 AM
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317: I would have guessed that was more an issue of poor photography than poor design.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:15 AM
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BTW, back on the food thing, I should note that I'm not utterly opposed to molecular gastronomy (just as I don't hate every building with a wavy facade). My primary objection is the idea that novelty is a positive, standalone value in cooking. There's an undeniable pleasure in trying something the first time, but that only happens once. Beyond that, the dish needs to stand on its own merits. A perfect beef burgundy, a perfect burger, and a perfect beef foam may all be equally enjoyable, but I'm not giving extra points to the foam for cleverness or novelty.

The main reviewer for the local paper (who, incidentally, is crazy young) is very aware of food trends (or, rather, trendiness); a couple weeks ago she commented snidely that a certain garnish or side* was no longer 'new,' as if that had anything to do with its merits. Either it contributed positively to the dish, or it didn't; newness doesn't enter into it, unless you think that cooking is as ephemeral and meaningless as haute couture.

* I can't recall for the life of me what it was, but it was something that has been in Pittsburgh no more than a couple years; we're not talking about radish flowers or vodka cream sauce


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:16 AM
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319: tendentiously, that's how!

No, you know, intensive study of traditional forms as a way of finding a new way forward.

Whatev; analogies are banned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:18 AM
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315: humane streets

Is that a street which has a comfortable surface for horses? or is it a typo?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:19 AM
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320: Most of the significant buildings I've ever seen have been from photos, yet I've been correct about how big they are*. The thing was designed to be scaleless.

And it's not a matter of untraditional forms. The original Guggenheim is, of course, untraditional, but it's also instantly readable. Wright understood that he was designing for humans (cliches about him aside), and he knew how big they are. Gehry doesn't seem to.

* Sometimes you get "you can't imagine how big it is from pictures," but that's an issue for monumental structures, like the pyramids.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:20 AM
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I'm just going to keep endorsing JRoth's comments today. This, however, needs modification: My primary objection is the idea that novelty is a positive, standalone value in cooking anything.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:21 AM
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321: cooking is as ephemeral and meaningless as haute couture

Actually clothes tend to last longer than food, with the possible exception of fruit cake.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:21 AM
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323: I thought "humane" could also refer to things that are gemütlich for humans, but maybe I'm wrong.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:22 AM
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325: There is a long tradition in Western art of prizing originality.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:24 AM
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326: But fashions don't last longer than recipes.

I think Sifu is wrong about this being an analogy (I'm explaining my mindset, not which architects correspond with which chefs), but I'm probably wrong to bring in fashion, because I know so little about it. I'm using fashion to represent ephemeral and insignificant design, which changes rapidly for no reason other than novelty - if last year was narrow ties, then this year must be wide; if last year was wide, then this year must be bolo. There's no substance, just blind chasing of the new. But that's probably an unfair characterization, and I wouldn't attempt to defend it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:26 AM
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originality =/= novelty

"Maybelline" was original*. "My Ding-a-Ling" was a novelty.

* even as it was part of a tradition, blah blah blah


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:27 AM
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Had the man never encountered a human settlement before?

Of course. He just thought he could do it better.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:36 AM
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Go ahead, ajay, make that joke again. It was great, and no one will see it at the other place.

Thanks... which one?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:39 AM
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The Latin bit.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:47 AM
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Of course. He just thought he could do it better.

[Grinds teeth]


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:48 AM
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330: Well, now, "My Ding-A-Ling" was part of a tradition too. Of course, it's a "novelty song", but that's getting into a very specific term of art, which doesn't necessarily have much to do with the standard meaning of the word "novelty".


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:50 AM
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Also, to quibble, aren't there a bunch of other 20th century multi-unit housing designs that privilege elevated walkways over grade-level paths? Rapson's Riverside Plaza towers include that feature, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it Le Corbusier and Bauhaus designs. You could probably make a case that it is discredited. But you can have the Minneapolis skyway system when you pry it from my cold, dead fist.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:53 AM
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This has some cool skyways.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:56 AM
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There is a long short, as in about the last three hundred years in several thousand, tradition in Western art of prizing originality.

Fixed that.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:57 AM
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Relevant.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:57 AM
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A better view.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:58 AM
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336: And what about shopping malls? Are you against them too, JRoth?

(I was just hired by HUAC)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:58 AM
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Finally, on the model vs. building thing, I was just noticing yesterday that there's a fairly grotty line of telephone poles that run along the street between the new Guthrie Theatre and its parking garage. I'll bet anything those didn't show up in the drawings or models when the design was being considered. As it is, they look fairly ridiculous, which is so unnecessary. Why can't architects trust and embrace the context of their projects? Especially in the city?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:59 AM
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I'm pretty sure I've seen it Le Corbusier and Bauhaus designs

I've been talking about Le Corbusier.

I will readily acknowledge that, in certain inhospitable climes, interior walkways are good. But I'll note that, even in Minneapolis, the traditional street grid remains. Corbu wanted to eradicate the street grid. Monstrous fuck.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:59 AM
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338: Different perspectives, I guess. Probably because you live in the Old World.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:00 AM
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I want to push back a bit on the Gehry-hatred. Disney Hall in LA is just terrific as a concert hall -- just a great place to hear music and thoughtfully designed for the purpose. The best concert hall that I've been inside, bar none. The building is beautiful, too, or at least I think so, and given its location and function, not inappropriately scaled. And I've been to an office building he designed for Disney in Anaheim, also great.

Now, you can't build a city around avant-garde concert halls, and I share a general distaste for starchitecture, but there are some monumental buildings out there and someone has to design them, and Gehry's pretty good at that.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:00 AM
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333: as you wish. I don't include you in this, JRoth! I meant other architects! Evil architects! (The architects who design the buildings I seem to end up working in...)

apropos of why there aren't many female architects... "My own guess would be that women are socialised, more than men, to be "caring", and thus tend to gravitate towards professions like medicine and teaching where actually liking people and being concerned about their welfare are advantages; architects, OTOH, generally seem to hate and despise humanity and regard it as an unpleasant mould that grows on their lovely buildings. (Si evidentia requiris, circumspice.)"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:02 AM
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Let us remember the classics

Have you a home that cries out to your every visitor, "Here lives someone who is exciting to know"?

No?

Well, why not... collect those little metal bottle-tops, and nail them upside-down to the floor? This will give the sensation... of walking... on little metal bottle-tops turned upside-down.

Why not... get hold of an ordinary Northumbrian spokeshaver's coracle? Paint it in contrasting stripes of, say, telephone black and white white, and hang it up in the hall for a guitar tidy for parties.

Why not... drop in one evening for a mess of pottage? Our speciality, just aubergine and carnation petals. With a six-shilling bottle of Mielle du Pap, a feast fit for a king.

I'm delirious about our new cooker fitment with the eye-level grille. This means that without my having to bend down, the hot fat can squirt straight into my eyes!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:05 AM
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343: Oh, I see. I should probably not try to dress and comment at the same time.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:07 AM
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Corbu wanted to eradicate the street grid.

Yay! Back to Çatal Höyük!

The inhabitants lived in mud-brick houses which were crammed together in an agglutinative manner. No footpaths or streets were used between the dwellings, which were clustered in a honeycomb-like maze. Most were accessed by holes in the ceiling, which were reached by interior and exterior ladders and stairs. Thus, their rooftops were their streets. The ceiling openings also served as the only source of ventilation, letting in fresh air and allowing smoke from open hearths and ovens to escape.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:12 AM
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I just picked up Jane Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities. She brings the hate in a really satisfying way. Invectitecture!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:13 AM
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340: That's a great photo. A Guy Maddin film should be built around it.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:15 AM
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And I'm a big fan of street grids. And tunnels. And bridges that are also buildings. And underground built spaces that are not tunnels. And arcologies.

I like the new library here quite a bit, actually. But its design is very human-scale and user friendly. Even the big atrium is pleasantly enclosed by the two halves of the building. The new Walker is like some kind of syphilitic Caligari fever dream, and the Guthrie is just too complicated. I need to go see some other cities soon though. The glimpses you get of similar buildings in magazines and movies don't really provide a good basis of comparison.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:18 AM
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No, JRoth, you and your flat floors are monstrous and inhumane!

(I love the KunstHausWien.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:27 AM
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342: I'm not sure I'm getting the complaint. Were the poles there beforehand, and you think they should have been replaced? If so, that's not about trusting context, that's about wanting to eliminate it.

You may be right that the architects never paid any mind to those poles, but just as likely they wanted them replaced, but either it wasn't in the budget or the City promised to do it as part of another streetscape project.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:31 AM
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OT Bleg:

Do we have to tip piano movers? It's being delivered as we speak. My dad (whose house was housing said piano) is paying for the whole shebang, which is on the order of $750.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:32 AM
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353: Wow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:33 AM
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using fashion to represent ephemeral and insignificant design,

Wow. Clothes designing as a whole is insignificant? Even if you simply consider the billions of dollars of revenue of sales, this is a weird statement.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:42 AM
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355: I think it's not customary; we never have. Also $750? Where does your dad live?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:47 AM
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Take out of revenue or of sales, as you prefer.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:47 AM
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+,


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:47 AM
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Too late, we didn't. There didn't seem to be an opportunity, plus the guy left a part back at the warehouse, so.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:55 AM
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What I wouldn't give for an apartment in the Hundertwasserhaus.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:56 AM
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358: NJ.

357: I said I wouldn't defend it. But I'm talking about the high fashion stuff that no one actually wears - the pants with the penis on the outside, for instance. I assume they won't be selling billions of dollars worth of those.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:58 AM
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I am not British. I am Montanan. I'm also not Deaf though, just deaf.

I notice that you did not deny being easy.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:59 AM
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Ah, okay, from NJ makes sense. I thought he lived in western PA, for some reason.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:00 AM
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I have trouble coming up with a better characterization of this dish.

What you're missing about the swine on a swing is that it was *tasty*. Yes, the presentation added something to it, but then again I'm willing to bet you prefer your meat and potatoes to be nicely arranged on the plate rather than slopped on it like you got it from a lunch line.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:03 AM
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But I'm talking about the high fashion stuff that no one actually wears - the pants with the penis on the outside, for instance.

The pants with the penis are more of the avant garde fashion than haute couture itself. Which people do wear, and pay thousands upon thousands for the hours of craftsmanship that goes into it.

I guess I'm just pushing back against the idea that there is only one correct taste - yours - and picking on the fashion example because it reveals some flaws in your thinking (as yes, you've admitted).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:06 AM
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362: I know! Tree tenants! (Even the recycling plant, or whatever it was, he designed was pretty cool.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:06 AM
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367: Basically, I'm being a little bitch.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:07 AM
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Beyond that, the dish needs to stand on its own merits. A perfect beef burgundy, a perfect burger, and a perfect beef foam may all be equally enjoyable, but I'm not giving extra points to the foam for cleverness or novelty.

Why not? Maybe this is a temperamental difference between us, but one of the things I get out of eating is discovering new things. Not all the time (I've been going to the same brunch place on Sundays virtually every week since I moved to the Bay Area), but it's definitely something I value.

Set the fine dining thing aside for a minute. Do you like discovering new ethnic foods?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:08 AM
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Walter Gropius was a wizard with wearable food.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:13 AM
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Bauhaus edible underwear was sleek, modern, and could be manufactured for less than a nickel (200,000,000DM) using wheat paste and concrete forms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:14 AM
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Walter Gropius was a wizard with wearable food.

A very slight anecdote that still amuses me: in college, a friend was writing up some application essays for an architecture internship of some sort in Switzerland. She asked us to read them over, first, and it was good that she did, because we had to inform her that no, she really could not say that she had been "seduced by Gropius."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:24 AM
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366: I'm taking as a given that it was tasty. But that absurd presentation becomes the focal point of the dish, not its flavors and textures.

I appreciate a nice presentation, just as I appreciate any attention to detail. I've had enough unstably stacked haute cuisine to know that, when presentation becomes the focal point, it can detract from the actual eating experience.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:26 AM
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While married to Gus she met Gropius,
And soon she was swinging with Walter,
Gus died and her teardrops were copious,
She wept all the way to the altar.

But he would work late at the Bauhaus,
And only come home now and then,
She said "What am I running, a chowhouse?
It's time to switch partners again!"


Posted by: Tom Lehrer | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:27 AM
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no, she really could not say that she had been "seduced by Gropius."

Because everyone knew she pursued him?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:28 AM
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the idea that there is only one correct taste - yours

Actually, my main complaint is that people are telling me that I should be in awe of Gehry and Achatz, when I think what they're doing is unimportant.

Indeed, regarding food particularly, I have very broad tastes, which is why I'm bugged at the idea that molecular gastronomy is somehow more important or exciting than the burgers at Tessaro's, which are, to be clear, the best burgers on god's green earth.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:30 AM
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But that absurd presentation becomes the focal point of the dish, not its flavors and textures.

Says who? One of us has actually eaten that dish, and I'm here to say you're on crack. The presentation was one of the truly awesome things about eating at Alinea, no question... but my memories of that meal are far more dominated by the flavors and textures than the presentation.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:36 AM
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Indeed, regarding food particularly, I have very broad tastes, which is why I'm bugged at the idea that molecular gastronomy is somehow more important or exciting than the burgers at Tessaro's, which are, to be clear, the best burgers on god's green earth.

Again with the false dichotomies. There's a place for a truly awesome burger just as there's a place for shit like this; what's fucking awesome about Alinea is that (when he's on his game) Achatz manages to combine the two.

(I also find it ironic that you're the one who was harshing on Achatz above for making a dessert that had flavors you'd had combined before.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:40 AM
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Do you like discovering new ethnic foods?

Of course, but my point is that the "discovery" happens once - beyond that, the cuisine or the dish needs to stand on its own. How many times have you heard someone say of some wacky exotic delicacy, "Well, I wouldn't want to eat it all the time, but I'm glad I tried it?" That's just a self-reassuring way of saying, "It tasted bad."

I was excited when I first had Thai food because it's delicious. Last night I made mussaman curry for the 30th time, and it was still delicious. It wouldn't have been improved by freezing it, foaming it, or making it with herring and grits. It was good because it was good, not because it was new.

All that said, you're right that there's a temperament issue here - some people never want to visit a place twice, other people spend their lives getting to know someplace. A big part of my objection is conflating the fleeting thrill of the new with the enduring enjoyment of the excellent*.

* You've seen that guy's blog, on which he documents a trip to el Bulli, complete with pics and video of each course? He uses words like "exciting" and "surprising" far more often than he uses words like "delicious" or "satisfying." A live mongoose baked into a pie os both exciting and surprising, but not my idea of a good meal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:41 AM
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I guess I'm just pushing back against the idea that there is only one correct taste - yours - and picking on the fashion example because it reveals some flaws in your thinking (as yes, you've admitted).

I see JRoth's comments as pushing back against the idea that there is only one correct taste - that of people who don't give a damn about the function of the clothing, arbitrarily redefine what is desirable so as to keep people chasing after an unattainable ideal, and generally create an environment in which substantial mental effort is wasted trying to follow an arbitrary and capricious moving target simply in order to avoid social disapproval. I find the fact that in order to be taken seriously in certain circles I have to tie a piece of cloth around my neck simply bizarre. Throw in the fact that the "correct" shape and color of that piece of cloth changes arbitrarily and we're into Kafka territory. If it wasn't programmed into us from an early age and someone proposed this out of the blue they'd be laughed out of town.

I realize I'm way out on the fringe in my feelings about this, but a little pushback from time to time is well warranted. I really have no objection to fashion as hobby, but it's not that way right now. For every woman who feels special and pretty wearing the latest designer gown to the opera there are half a dozen or more feeling frumpy and undesirable just going about their daily lives because they can't meet Cosmo standards through no fault of their own. To me that seems like a bad thing. It's as if someone else's hobby has become a social duty - I feel about it the same way that most people would feel about being required to spend personal time researching variants of the RL-10 rocket engine* just in order to avoid social opprobrium.

And of course JRoth's clarification invalidates some of what I wrote, but I'm going to pretend it doesn't.

*Yes, I do have some odd hobbies, but don't worry, I won't force them on you.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:44 AM
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(I also find it ironic that you're the one who was harshing on Achatz above for making a dessert that had flavors you'd had combined before.)

Then it seems like you're missing my point entirely. To wit:

"I had the most amaaaaazing dessert of my life. The chef shows up, see..."
[20 minutes pass]
"Wow, sounds interesting. How did it taste?"
"Pretty much like a Special Edition Mint Mounds Bar. It changed my life, man."

He's taking something that may or may not be delicious and using presentation and textural gotchas to make it Important and Exciting.

When you were in college, did you view the Cement Mixer shot as a particularly brilliant bit of bartending?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:49 AM
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I concur with Josh in all respects.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:50 AM
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How many times have you heard someone say of some wacky exotic delicacy, "Well, I wouldn't want to eat it all the time, but I'm glad I tried it?" That's just a self-reassuring way of saying, "It tasted bad."

Wait, what? This is one of the more provincial things I've ever read on unfogged.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:50 AM
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Last night I made mussaman curry for the 30th time, and it was still delicious. It wouldn't have been improved by freezing it, foaming it, or making it with herring and grits.

This is where you're wrong. One of the most amazing dishes I've ever had involved a parmesan foam; it was a more intense parmesan flavor than I'd ever had before, and the fact that it was a foam rather than sliced or grated cheese meant that you could get more of it without being weighed down by the fat and heaviness of the cheese itself. It was the absolute essence of parmesan-ness... but from your perspective I shouldn't ever have even been able to have that dish in the first place.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:51 AM
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textural gotchas

Texture isn't a part of food? Come on.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:51 AM
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Presentation and texture are, of course, a big part of the perception of food. Considering them as extraneous to the experience of eating is (to make an analogy) akin to complaining that a song only seems good because it's got interesting rhythm.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:52 AM
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... and sometimes it is pretty great to eat something different, even if you don't want to eat it all the time. Wanting it all the time isn't the sine qua non of good food.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:55 AM
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I love it how this is all imagined resentment, not based on eating any of the food in question, wearing any of the clothes in question, or visiting the buildings in question. Oh no, the mean fashion police might force you into liking something that you'd actually enjoy/find beautiful/look good wearing.

Sure, some new, fashionable things fail and are ugly/taste bad/are failures as buildings. But some new, fashionable things are awesome. And anyone with half an aesthetic sense and love for creativity appreciates something that's good and new a little bit more than something that's good but unoriginal and tired -- which doesn't mean that everything new is good!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:56 AM
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How many times have you heard someone say of some wacky exotic delicacy, "Well, I wouldn't want to eat it all the time, but I'm glad I tried it?" That's just a self-reassuring way of saying, "It tasted bad."

I usually hear this about Indian or Thai food. It doesn't seem like a way of rationalizing disappointment.


Posted by: Cryptic ne3d | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:56 AM
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I love it how this is all imagined resentment, not based on eating any of the food in question

Ding ding. I do particularly enjoy being lectured about how a meal I found particularly delicious wasn't about the taste of the food at all.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:58 AM
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I think it is natural to be more conservative with food than with other aesthetic experiences. This is one of those places where habits and tastes evolve into elaborately codified taboos.

However, even if conservatism is natural, it isn't necessarily universal or good.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:00 PM
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Ahem, I meant to say this in this thread:

When it's a gimmick, sure, it's ultimately boring, and lots of molecular gastronomy seems to involve way more elaborate and gimmicky contortions than are actually worth the trouble. When people get all hot and bothered over that sort of thing, it's tiresome. But the sheer fact that an item is interesting for the surprise as well as the deliciousness doesn't make it worthless, and the surprise can result in plenty of new opportunities for deliciousness in less theatrical settings.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:01 PM
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Foamed conservatism, served with tea, is like the very essence of conservatism.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:18 PM
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Oh no, the mean fashion police might force you into liking something that you'd actually enjoy/find beautiful/look good wearing.

I can't really comment on the food issue, as I have the palate of a dingo, but you're missing the point on fashion. I don't have to wear anything new, different, or exciting in order to experience negative consequences from the new = better paradigm. All I have to do is wear something that was perfectly acceptable a few years ago. That's the root of my hostility to the industry. It's junior high cliques writ large, and often enough it's the exact same people. They were frivolous assholes then, and they still are.

There's nothing wrong with liking novelty. What's problematic is deprecating that which is not novel but which is still excellent on its own merits.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:20 PM
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|| Speaking of houses: This was pretty cool.

I wish I'd been able to see it in person.
||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:38 PM
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375:
Jean-Paul Gaultier
Was a clothier.
As his clothes got haute-ier,
He got goatier.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:41 PM
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391: It was false consciousness, Josh!

You were enjoying the taste of your own oppression!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:47 PM
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The tableside, plateless presentation seems ostentacious. I would prefer a delivery that focussed more attention on the food. Paintball guns, perhaps?
"I'll have the beef cappuchino, please." WHAPWHAPWHAP


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:57 PM
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Let 399 show that I have no idea what they serve in these places.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 12:59 PM
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Is 395 really a problem for you, in a practical sense? That's not a snark question, I'm genuinely curious. Sure, fashion changes (people like new things, and clothes do wear out), but it changes pretty damn slowly, especially for men and there are plenty of ways to wear clothes that don't go immediately out of style -- if you're wearing something that looks good on you and is not outrageously and obviously trendy or dated (and, therefore, probably didn't look that good to begin with), you're mostly fine. And don't you live in DC? I don't think men's clothes have changed there in 20 years, which isn't really a good thing.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:01 PM
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Fashion driven by novelty may not hit men hard, but it hits women hard. Also it indirectly hits everyone, because a lot of economic productivity and natural resources are used up pursuing something with little real value and in general promoting a disposable consumer culture.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:17 PM
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311: As an object, L'Unité is not especially offensive. As a group of homes, it's monstrous (and I mean that). A concrete playground on the roof? Upper story corridors to replace humane streets? Had the man never encountered a human settlement before?

Except people actually really quite want to live there these days, so yeah. And of course for Corbusier, humane streets were a dead thing, replaced by Haussmann's massive boulevards anyway.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:17 PM
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402 could be worded better.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:18 PM
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I really really loathe our local Gehry building, I must say.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:22 PM
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I disagree strongly with 402.2. Aesthetics and fashion is not something with little "real value," whatever that means. Beauty matters, design matters, a feeling of novelty matters, and there's nothing wrong with people spending money on new clothes instead of other things, most of which I would argue are equally derived from aesthetic preferences anyway, just different ones that you are choosing to privilege.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:22 PM
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I can't believe this conversation is still going on.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:27 PM
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Geez, JRoth. No one is suggesting that Achatz be elevated to deity status or that his dishes will change the course of human kind forever. But the food is delicious and the presentation unquestionably an added dimension of the experience. (I would add, too, that photographic representations or verbal descriptions of the presentation don't really do justice -- in the same way watching something on the Food Network doesn't really capture the full experience of aromas and texture and taste. it's like adding a soundtrack to a film. No question, if the film sucks in terms of plot, cinematography, acting, then no matter how amazing the soundtrack, the film will still suck. But that hardly means that a well-crafted soundtrack adds nothing to the overall experience and value of a film. It's another layer that adds some richness.

I'm not exactly educated on haute cuisine/molecular gastronomy (basically, I've read one review of Alinea when it opened, went to dinner there years later, and read up on TFL here). So I don't know where Achatz fits in that tradition. But what I enjoyed was the feeling of playfulness and intellectual engagement in the meal. That's a pleasure that is undoubtedly different from the pleasure of a deep dish pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms and olives. But they can both be pleasures.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:28 PM
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I kinda like our local Gehry building; I can't speak to how it is to work in, and it was a little irritating when it was just standing there on its own, but as the area around it has gotten built up it's receeded into the background, so it mostly presents as funny, unexpected angles in the corner of a view, and in the context it's pretty nifty.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:29 PM
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406: Aesthetic value is weak compared to other sorts of value, especially moral value. First of all, it doesn't justify much. If someone were to sacrifice his moral virtues in pursuit of looking better physically--or even of making someone else looking better--we would say they had their priorities skewed.

Second aesthetic preferences are flexible. You can acclimate aesthetic changes in a way you can't to changes in things that have moral importance. For instance, I've learned to accept the weirdly huge pants my students still wear, but I will not learn to accept inequality in education access.

Third, for every aesthetic value, there are people who find value in the opposite. Some people find value in pristine nature, while others like to marvel at feats of human engineering. There is no pressing need to reconcile these preferences the way there is with moral disagreements.

All of this is actually adapted from a paper I wrote once on the aesthetic value of nature.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:41 PM
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Is 410 not a series of non sequiturs?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:47 PM
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I'm not personally mad keen on Gehry, but I like a lot of earlier modernist and Brutalist architecture. A lot of the things that get described as concrete eyesores, are, I think, actually pretty cool. That's not an original point of view, of course; I've read quite a lot of defenses of that period recently.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:48 PM
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OK, maybe, but your argument applies to essentially all consumer spending. What percentage of people's spending goes to advancing things of moral value? Tithing 10% (if that's your thing w/r/t moral value) is done by pretty much no one, although I'm sure Witt or somebody here gives half their income to charity.

Within a range of available consumerism -- which is mostly a good thing! people want it! -- there's not much reason to single out new fashion as the one thing that's verboten.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:48 PM
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1. New food is good as long as it is good to eat. Horrible tasting new food is the worst kind of new food.

2. It sucks when avant garde Spanish designers bully you into buying their thousand-dollar penis pants, and then next time you wear them make fun of you because they are like so last week. It makes you feel like you wasted your money.

3. Frank Gehry: sometimes he nails it, sometimes he doesn't. It's a toss-up.

COMITY.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:49 PM
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411 -- Could be!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:49 PM
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re: 410

I think you could probably make the case that the sort of impulses that fashion involves and appeals to, that aesthetic urge to self-adornment, is about as fundamental culturally as just about anything gets.

Of course the commercialisation and commodification of it can be hugely problematic, but in that sense its no different from film, or music, or literature.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:50 PM
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I don't begin to grasp the point of 410. Anyhow, if you're talking about people sacrificing their moral principles in the name of art, it happens all the time, and it can be perfectly laudable.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 1:57 PM
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I'd like to restate my support for any government willing to require the people to wear Mao jackets, thus removing all pressure to be fashionable on pain of instant and draconian punishment.

But that's just me.

(If anyone else wants to lobby for the Mandatory Gruel Act, logrolling could be arranged.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:01 PM
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409 I kinda like our local Gehry building; I can't speak to how it is to work in, and it was a little irritating when it was just standing there on its own, but as the area around it has gotten built up it's receeded into the background, so it mostly presents as funny, unexpected angles in the corner of a view, and in the context it's pretty nifty.

But didn't your local Gehry building have a bunch of people complaining that it was leaking into their offices every time it rained? I heard second- or third-hand that it was a disaster.

My local Gehry building is interesting to look at and unambiguously prettier than the tower that sits next to it. It seems to have some oddly-shaped, not really useful yet not obviously decorative, spaces inside, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:09 PM
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The only Gehry building I've seen regularly up close is the one in Prague. Which isn't very good, and Prague has a lot of much better architecture. But local people seem quite amused by it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:11 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:15 PM
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Actually, "isn't very good" is mebbe a bit harsh. It doesn't really appeal to me, anyway.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:16 PM
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I wonder if JRoth has an opinion of Peter Eisenman.
He's the Frank Gehry of Columbus, Ohio.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:17 PM
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There's a pretty Gehry building I bike past when I bike to work, although none of the linked pictures are flattering to it. I think it's supposed to be a stylized ship (or so I'm told by a friend who works there), although it looks more like a cloud to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:19 PM
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Actually, my main problems with Gehry are moral rather than aesthetic -- the stealth houses and homeless person-proofed library are much more monstrous than most other architects' follies.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:19 PM
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I absolutely adore Brutalist architecture, except when it doesn't have enough elevators.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:23 PM
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AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH.

/hockey.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:24 PM
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401 is sort of answered by 402. I'm attuned to the negative impact on women due to the fact that fully half of my ancestors are female. As to the effect on me personally - once you get to my age you can evade the issue with only a modest amount of effort, but it's still effort that I'd rather have invested in something else.

406 conflates aesthetics and fashion. Aesthetics is a component of fashion, but fashion requires novelty for its' own sake, and moreover it requires that the novelty be of a particular form, one dictated by a select group of tastemakers. The requirement for novelty shifts the crux of the biscuit from object to experience, and for me the experience of successfully conforming to arbitrary and shifting standards is worth zero rat orgasms. That's not to say that anyone for whom the experience is desirable is in any way bad - far from it. If you feel good wearing the latest in rhinestone studded codpieces, by all means enjoy it to the full. What crosses a very important line for me is deprecating those for whom the experience is without value, or who are unable to have the experience due to money, body type, or other factors, and that's absurdly common in the fashion world.

It's sort of what ttaM mentions in 416.1 - it's not the particulars of the item taken on its own, it's the social pressure to conform to the standard and the resulting side effects. Your enjoyment of that new rhinestone studded codpiece doesn't hurt me in the least, but the cultural pressure to buy a new one every season does. Cultural stuff is necessarily a group phenomenon, with all the social enforcement, in-group vs. out-group bollocks that goes along with it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:27 PM
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If KR were here, he'd provide a link to Simmel's article on fashion. I'm certain of it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:29 PM
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I love gruels and porridges, LB. I think we can work something out.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:36 PM
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429 -- you could help us out, smart guy.

Or, I could cut and paste from Google. "To Simmel, fashion is a societal formation always combining two opposite forces It is a socially acceptable and safe way to distinguish oneself from others and, at the same time, it satisfies the individual's need for social adaptation and imitation Furthermure, the charm of novelty offered by fashion is a purely aesthetic pleasure. Fashion helps to solve - at least provisionally - the central problem of the philosophy of life, also expressed in the antinomy of taste as formulated by Kant. It teaches the modern man how a person can be a homogeneous part of a social mass without losing his individuality, or how he can both stick to his own private taste and expect others - who recognizably also have a taste ot their own - to share it Simmel's suggestion of the 'stylized life-style' further develops the same idea. In modern society, both style and fashion are functional equivalents to 'good taste'."

Sounds right to me!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:37 PM
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I haven't read the article myself, and I don't want to appear to lend my weighty approval to it by linking it, given that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:39 PM
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I'd rather have oatmeal in front of me, than an haute meal after a lobotomy.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:41 PM
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My problem with the Weisman (the MPLS Gehry building) is that the intersting Gehryish part of the building is a facade that faces out onto the river (so you only see it from certain angles while crossing the bridge). The building as one experiences it by entering it is an entirely conventional building exterior and set of gallery spaces. The two halves - cubistish facade and regular one - are never experienced at the same time, so it take a particular sort of mental trick to even experience them as the same building.


Posted by: Jimmy Pongo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 2:59 PM
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Is 410 not a series of non sequiturs?

I don't begin to grasp the point of 410

Hmm, I didn't think I was being that weird or stupid. My point was directed at more than just fashion. I was really concerned about any time people put a lot of weight on aesthetic value over other values. If a Gehry building gets more attention for being visually striking, and the fact that it is homeless person-proofed (meaning they can't find a way to sleep there?), it is a problem. Also a problem, people objecting to wind turbines because they disrupt the landscape. Or people who object to cell phone towers in wild areas because they mean that the park is no longer "pristine."

I am getting off topic with this, I suppose. I was just responding to the claim that "Aesthetics and fashion is not something with little "real value," whatever that means."

Anyhow, if you're talking about people sacrificing their moral principles in the name of art, it happens all the time, and it can be perfectly laudable.

Laudable how? Morally? Take the standard example of Gauguin abandoning his family to purse his art. You could say it is morally laudable because the art produces more happiness than he would have given his family if he stayed. But that's quite a big gamble for him to take, and it wasn't really his intention anyway.

You could say that somehow from an aesthetic viewpoint his decision was a good one, and that somehow aesthetic value trumps moral value here, but I'm not sure how you compare the too values in a way that would ever let aesthetics come out on top.



Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:04 PM
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And of course for Corbusier, humane streets were a dead thing, replaced by Haussmann's massive boulevards anyway.

Yeah, no one wants to live in Paris. They're all just stuck there waiting for spaces in concrete apartment blocks to open up.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:15 PM
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How many times have you heard someone say of some wacky exotic delicacy, "Well, I wouldn't want to eat it all the time, but I'm glad I tried it?" That's just a self-reassuring way of saying, "It tasted bad."


Wait, what? This is one of the more provincial things I've ever read on unfogged.

Setting aside the obnoxiousness of using "provincial" as an insult, have you honestly never heard anyone say this? Really?

Furthermore, I'm obviously not saying that this is the only way people ever feel about new foods or delicacies.

Would you feel less snobbish about it if, instead of "awful," I used "tastes like chicken"? Or have you never heard anyone say that a supposedly exotic food turned out to taste like a pretty ordinary food? But it was exciting because it was exotic and novel.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:23 PM
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Human flesh tastes like really good pork ribs, for instance. There's nothing provincial about that.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:30 PM
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I was going to say that moral luck, contra 417, is not being something that happens all the time-- most of the time people who sacrifice moral principles to art don't achieve the kind of success that makes people think of it as "perfectly laudable". But helpy-chalk pwned me (helpfully!) with his Gauguin example.


Posted by: briefly visible | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:31 PM
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BTW, Parmesan cheese is a funny example to me, since, although I love it (and pay for the good stuff), it wearies my palate long before I find it too heavy. We're talking about a cheese, two ounces of which is sufficient for a pan of lasagna that contains a pound and a half of other cheeses.

Anyway, contra Josh, I dont actually think molecular gastronomy should be outlawed. I just think that it's overhyped and that people won't much care about it in 20 years. But I suppose by then there'll be another novelty for people to rave and sneer at others about.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:34 PM
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I don't think that cannibals are generally viewed as especially cosmopolitan, Slack.

BTW, thanks for the ToS mix of hateful songs. Always a treat hearing, "fuck off, you bitch."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:36 PM
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Parmesan cheese is a funny example to me, since, although I love it (and pay for the good stuff), it wearies my palate long before I find it too heavy.

I think what you're saying is that you wouldn't want to eat it all the time, but you're glad when you try it?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:40 PM
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It seems to have some oddly-shaped, not really useful yet not obviously decorative, spaces inside, though

I strongly object to the idea that this is a side issue, to be included as an afterthought. It's not that everything has to be rational boxes, but architecture is decidedly not about making a pretty shape and shoehorning function into it.

I realize that this sentiment is provincial, and that anyone the least bit sophisticated knows that unusable offices are teh awesome.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:43 PM
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Always a treat hearing, "fuck off, you bitch."

Well, I wouldn't want to hear it all the time . . . .


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:43 PM
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442: no.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:43 PM
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Indeed, but everyone knows that designing for maximal utility regardless of aesthetics is the best. That's why Apple is so successful.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:44 PM
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Actually, an infamous quote from a lesbian friend of mine, regarding the taste of the ladyparts, was that if it were an ice cream flavor, she wouldn't order it all the time. But she'd order it once in a while.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:45 PM
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have you honestly never heard anyone say this? Really?

Of course I've heard people say it. But I don't assume that they mean "this food tastes bad" (or its close corollary, "man, those Korean/Bosnian/Kenyan/[other 'exotic' ethnicity] people eat some nasty shit"), but rather that they're acknowledging that a large part of taste has to do with what you're used to.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:46 PM
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Btw, I evidently need to clarify: "wouldn't want to eat it all the time," in the situation I'm describing, is a euphemism for "never want to eat again."

Are you people aware that, when someone describes a meal as "interesting," they're trying to be polite? Or do you think you've actually shifted their paradigm of eating?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:51 PM
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438: Our archaic legal system makes it hard to enjoy this delicacy. In Togotopia not only does your drivers' license indicate your organ donor status*, it also indicates which culinary fashions are to be followed in preparation of your meaty bits. First responders will be trained in proper preservation of bodies in order to maximize not only the chances of successful organ harvest, but also freshness, taste, and texture.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:52 PM
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And just to be clear, I wasn't objecting to Achatz and molecular gastronomy toute suite, just the dessert pictured in the video, specifically its presentation. I'm sure I'd find the variety of textures presented interesting and enjoyable. And artful plating can enhance enjoyment.

But, just set it on the table and let me go after it, please. Don't spend five minutes at the table smearing and scattering and pouring. Do that in the kitchen. I feel the same way about similar acts of showmanship, for example flambeeing desserts tableside. If that's something you'd enjoy, that's fine, it's just not my cuppa.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:53 PM
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Or have you never heard anyone say that a supposedly exotic food turned out to taste like a pretty ordinary food?

I remember the first time I had a dish with fresh ginger. (Savory ginger, not sweet like in ginger ale or ginger snaps.) I thought it tasted like lemon, but like a really weird version of lemon, sort of like the way lemon Pledge smells.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:54 PM
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451: Tout court?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:56 PM
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453: Just stepping in, because I don't think B-n knows French.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:56 PM
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Are you people aware that, when someone describes a meal as "interesting," they're trying to be polite? Or do you think you've actually shifted their paradigm of eating?

Are you aware that words, and communication in general, are highly context dependent?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:57 PM
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441.2: Cheers.

I don't think that cannibals are generally viewed as especially cosmopolitan, Slack.

Depends on how well they choose and prepare their cuts, obviously.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:57 PM
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But didn't your local Gehry building have a bunch of people complaining that it was leaking into their offices every time it rained? I heard second- or third-hand that it was a disaster.

It still leaks, sometimes directly on to electronics. It has terrible acoustics, and the open-plan spaces are a major step down from the lockable-offices that everyone used to have in NE43 (just last week, another batch of laptops happened to "walk off" from their homes). It has lots of fun architectural features like columns-in-the-middle-of-hallways (in one case, right in front of a machine room, so that it's a bear to wheel anything in), two floors that come together with four foot gap (requiring an elevator for accessibility), and a roof over one entrance that acts as a funnel for ice to collect and slide onto the people walking in and out of the door. Some people have walls that are angled concrete and support no bookshelves. There are hallways with Exit signs that lead you in a loop, and a heating system that never works quite right. About 50% of the floor space is cellular dead zone, despite the large number of repeaters they installed after the fact. The electronic locking system and automatic doors (a) always seem to break, and (b) only confirmed RMS in his paranoia that MIT is monitoring his every move. They didn't plan (initially) for enough parking, and so the whole building had to be redesigned to sit on a huge shelf of concrete -- the BT people in the architecture department decry it as a massive waste of materials (so I've been told) and it added $100m to the overall cost. There aren't enough conference rooms, and one of the seminar rooms (the "Kiva" room) was built with sound-proofed wall-paneling that actually gives people vertigo and makes them sick. (That's where I defended my thesis -- and it's the usual joke that people make when they start a talk in that room, "you won't be able to tell whether it's my talk or the room that makes you want to vomit") The amphitheater in the back had to be completely rebuilt last year, after suffering extensive water damage. Moving to the new building completely destroyed the decades of accreted culture and history that had built up in the old building.

But despite all that, it's got pretty colors and cute angles and when you look down Galileo Galilei at it from a block away it actually looks sort of pretty in the evening. There are some views from within the building that are amazing, cutting across three floors at once with no inside or outside to any wall. Someone installed a ping-pong table above the faculty dining area. I bet, overall, that it helps the university sell itself to potential students and faculty.

So maybe it's a wash?


Posted by: arthegall | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:57 PM
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453: Probably. But I was trying to be "innovative" and "edgy".

455: That was me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:59 PM
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Are you people aware that, when someone describes a meal as "interesting," they're trying to be polite? Or do you think you've actually shifted their paradigm of eating?

I'm really not getting the context of this comment. Is it assumed that we're all dragging people around to "novel" and "inventive" dining experiences against their wills?


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:59 PM
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449

I'm pretty sure that's how I would have described my first sushi outing (and I didn't think it was terrible, I just didn't think it was fantastic). My paradigm of eating has definitely shifted since then, to the point where I would consider eating it all the time. But this must be one of my superpowers.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 3:59 PM
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449.last - In the food context I've always taken (and used) "interesting" to imply that the person is trying to avoid rudeness, but Di's various comments upthread have shifted my understanding. I think there are certainly people for whom it means "interesting" - I just don't parse food along that axis - yummy to gross is the only one I use. Oh, and the projectile utility axis.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:03 PM
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they're acknowledging that a large part of taste has to do with what you're used to.

Say "cultural expectations," and I think you're closer to right. There are foods that are well-loved more or less everywhere they go; few people have to be sold on pasta. Other foods aren't widely loved even in their culture of origin; not every Swede loves lutefisk. Your accusation of provincialism adds up to "all foods are equally delicious, and only anti-Nordites dislike lutefisk."

My whole point about temperament and novelty is that some people place a lot of value on having tried lutefisk (and not admitting if they disliked it, since only anti-Nordites do), while others place a lot of value on not letting lye-cured fish into their mouths.

I, personally, will try just about anything; I just don't get an extra thrill because it's "new."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:03 PM
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459: it was just sarcasm related to your apparent (to me) misreading of euphemism. "Interesting" is a long-standing cliche as a euphemistic comment about adventurous homecooking, as I'm sure you know; I was just invoking that cliche.

I tried to walk away from this thread, I really did.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:05 PM
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others place a lot of value on not letting lye-cured fish into their mouths.

Really, food is more like sex than architecture. Some people can say "anal sex was interesting, and I'm glad I tried it, but I don't want to do it again." But really most people either like it, and do it, or don't like it, and are skeeved out by it.

Personally, I can imagine saying that sex with someone was "interesting" and mean it as a sincere compliment. But I doubt it would go over that way.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:09 PM
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Indeed, but everyone knows that designing for maximal utility regardless of aesthetics is the best. That's why Apple is so successful.

From a design POV, this completely misses the boat. Apple's designs rarely place form over function; when they have (4G Cube, puck mouse), they've experienced failure. What PC/engineer types have never understood about Apple is that the design is generally in service to, and rarely undermines, the user experience. The iPod didn't just look good; it functioned better for the user because of its slick design.

Unusable spaces that look awesome from the outside do not enhance the user experience.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:12 PM
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Adjectives that I have used approvingly for food: "startling", "wild", "weird", "way different", "funny".

A partial list of things that I have eaten (or drank) that I probably wouldn't eat every day, but that were tasty nonetheless: natto, water buffalo skin, beef kidney stew, habañero-infused vodka.

Things that are widely recognized as tasty the world over that I'm not much of a fan of: mushrooms.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:13 PM
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464: Well I said it was never intended as analogy, but as another instance of my own mindset.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:13 PM
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466.1 should have included "interesting", obviously.

My whole point about temperament and novelty is that some people place a lot of value on having tried lutefisk (and not admitting if they disliked it, since only anti-Nordites do), while others place a lot of value on not letting lye-cured fish into their mouths.

The third option, that people try lutefisk and enjoy it but don't want to eat it all the time, is not admissible.

Also, why did you go with pasta? You know what's enjoyed the world over? Water! Delicious water.

Actually, I know people who don't like water, so there you go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:16 PM
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467: I don't think the fact of an analogy is in the intention; you made a comparison between two realms as a way of demonstrating your mindset. If there is no meaningful comparison between those realms, then we can gain no knowledge about your mindset. Ergo, the analogy was central to your point.

Hah, "ergo"! I kill me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:17 PM
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Good lord, the children are being bathed downstairs, and I was briefly confused by the sickly-sweet aroma of their bubble bath wafting up. A foam of Very Berry, I believe.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:20 PM
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I'm reminded of Robert Anton Wilson's classification system of Homo Neophilus and Homo Neophobus. Most people dislike/are afraid of things that are new and prefer things they are familiar with. A decidedly smaller set of people really prefer or seek out things that are new. Food is a really good example.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:22 PM
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Your accusation of provincialism adds up to "all foods are equally delicious, and only anti-Nordites dislike lutefisk."

1. Does not!

2. Look, I know a whole, whole lot about lutefisk. Its history and the shifting contexts of its preparation and consumption. (Shall we talk about the role of performance in tradition?) Lutefisk has nothing to do with any points I have made.


And with that, I'm going to go swim translate 1920s German descriptions of depictions of Africans' hair in engravings. Scintillating! Not at all racist!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:23 PM
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Also, why did you go with pasta?

I was going to go with pizza, but I didn't want to get into lactose intolerance.

Besides, everybody loves pasta!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:27 PM
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This conversation has gotten testy on all sides, and I don't think there's all that much actual disagreement.

What I've understood JRoth to be saying throughout is (rephrased with wild abandon and complete looseness) that (1) Novelty isn't something that should be highly valued in food unless the food would be a pleasure to eat in the absence of novelty, (2) lots of tricky molecular gastronomy newfangled food scores much higher on the 'novelty' metric than on the 'pleasure to eat' index, and (3) you can tell that (2) is the case by the fact that reactions to such food are often, in his experience, much more along the lines of 'fascinating' rather than 'delicious', and 'interesting' used in a fashion where you can tell that it implies 'really not delicious' and in fact kind of unpleasant.

People disagreeing with JRoth seem to be largely saying one of the following: (1) In my personal experience with a particular tricky food restaurant, the food has actually been a pleasure to eat, (2) 'Interesting,' as a comment on food, is perfectly compatible with 'a pleasure to eat' and the interestingness and novelty can compound that pleasure.

And this doesn't seem like square disagreement to me, except insofar as JRoth is understood as badmouthing particular restaurants that serve tricky food that other commenters have enjoyed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:27 PM
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I reject your Broderism. JRoth is insane and evil and cannot be reasoned with, and our disagreements are foundational. Go team Alinea.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:32 PM
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Comity!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:34 PM
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471 breaks down very quickly with me, because here I am, opposed by the Neophilii, yet I love going to new restaurants and ordering new dishes. I just don't get off on novelty per se (I bet I would love Per Se).

Does it help to add a preference for variety? There's nothing especially novel about, say, a new green curry recipe, but I'm as interested in trying that as I am in trying something totally new (or something familiar that I haven't had in 2 years).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:35 PM
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This conversation has gotten testy on all sides, and I don't think there's all that much actual disagreement.

I can't quite figure out how it could be, but you must be new here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:38 PM
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I really feel the HuFu-positive viewpoint ("cannibal" is so retrograde) has been insufficiently acknowledged here.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:38 PM
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You know who else liked green curry? Hitler.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:39 PM
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Shorter 474: Lizardbreath likes cheeseburgers. Discuss.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:39 PM
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I bet I would love Per Se

Aha! We get the real story. Fuck you, 10th best restaurant in the world, I only eat at nos. 6 and up.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:39 PM
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Besides, everybody loves pasta!

I can't eat pasta. Jerk.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:41 PM
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I'm not really a huge pasta fan. I mean, I'll eat it, I just don't love it.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:42 PM
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483: What about pasta made from a compressed gelee of pork jowl and beef shortribs?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:43 PM
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481: Mmmm. Cheeseburgers. There's a bar in my neighborhood with oversized burgers, which I normally don't like, but they do a great ridiculous cheddar burger with the juice from the burger mixing with and softening the melted cheese, which then drips out and lands on your french fries. Mmmm.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:43 PM
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482: I randomly googled a list that has Per Se 6th. But it is a weird list. Momofuku Ssam Bar is vastly better than Daniel?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:43 PM
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||

DS! I was thinking of you because I just posted some thoughts about Steely Dan today. You should drop by and say "hi."

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:44 PM
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487: Racist. Tout court.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:45 PM
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490

Look, I know a whole, whole lot about lutefisk.

How many times have I heard that.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:45 PM
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489: I *like* the Ssam Bar! I just like Daniel *and* Café Boulud better. Actually, I like Café Boulud better than Daniel.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:46 PM
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474 seems about right to me. My only modification is that I don't even presume that most people find this stuff bad-"interesting;" I think that (for many) the "interesting" is blocking out assessment of the food qua food.

To introduce an analogy, there are bands that go up on stage and perform their hearts out in blue jeans and t-shirts, and there are bands that go out with live ocelots on their heads. I tend to suspect that the band with the ocelots may not be focusing as much on making music (although they may be! I love this band!).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:47 PM
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491: So what you're saying is that Ssam Bar is one of the good ones? I don't think you're helping your case here, oud.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:47 PM
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Huh. I can't really afford it sensibly, but now I'm thinking about trying to get a table at Per Se for Buck's birthday. This is probably a terrible idea.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:48 PM
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495

I love this band!

Too much flute. Not enough axe.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:49 PM
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I think that (for many) the "interesting" is blocking out assessment of the food qua food.

And this is the part that people were arguing with, because it appeared that JRoth was saying "you may have thought you enjoyed the food, but in fact you were snowed by presentation and novelty", which is silly.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:50 PM
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486: Next time you're in town, make Dr. Oops take you to Tessaro's.

I can't read Ssam Bar without trying to reverse it as Mass Bar or, possible, Mass Rab.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:50 PM
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God damn but I love Jethro Tull. Now I have to go find that CD and put an ocelot on my head.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:51 PM
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496: I just want the f*%king chef to leave so that I can get down to licking dessert off the tablecloth in peace.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:52 PM
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496: Let's just say that the level of enthusiasm seems to have more to do with the presentation and novelty than with the absolute quality of the food (which may still be very high).

And yes, restaurants are performance, blah blah.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:53 PM
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So now we have to deal with late 1970s style rock snobbery, too? Fuck you, El Bulli, with your ocelot dance tunes, disco sux and I only listen to Zeppelin.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:53 PM
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Can't find my ocelot. Lutefisk will have to do.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:54 PM
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499: yes. You're welcome to that preference, and not only will I not argue with you, I will also avoiding putting easily mangled extremities near your food at any time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:54 PM
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Is the ocelot line taken from Eddie Izzard? Anyway, it's someone talking about Liberace, iirc.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:54 PM
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498: Have you seen that photo of B with her cat sleeping on her head?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:54 PM
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500.1: let's just say that you're wrong. Is, I think, what people were saying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:54 PM
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494: Do it. It really is worth it. Get the wine pairings -- there is no real point in trying to economize once you are there.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:56 PM
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Just kidding, I don't actually have to find the CD. I have it on my computer.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:56 PM
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Have you seen that photo of B with her cat sleeping on her head?

Unless she's also standing on one leg and playing a wind instrument, I'm not impressed.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:58 PM
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494 - No it isn't. I bet you remember the meal at Per Se fondly for longer than you'd miss the money.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:59 PM
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I mean, the idea that there's an absolute scale of food quality, and that ideally one would be able to eliminate performance, atmosphere, presentation, texture, and whatever else from the equation in order to come up with an objective rating of food quality is deeply silly. I think that is the assertion you were handwaving away with "blah blah" (correct me if I'm wrong), but you can't hand-wave it away! It's not like people are being served Bloomin' Onions at Alinea and oohing and aahing about how delicious they are because they have a slight blue glow. The presentation and novelty of technique are inextricable from the dining experience, which inextricability I think people like Achatz are intentionally (and interestingly!) exploring.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 4:59 PM
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Shorter this thread: Tastes differ. People are judgmental.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:00 PM
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507: Yeah, I was just looking at wine lists, and trying to figure out what dinner for two would be likely to come to with wine, tax and tip. Starting at $550 for the food... over a grand, easily. Not going to happen.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:00 PM
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Get the wine pairings -- there is no real point in trying to economize once you are there.

I have to say, this is the one way in which Alinea disappointed; I really wasn't that impressed with the wine pairings, particularly given that they doubled the cost of the meal. Oh well.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:00 PM
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515

Shorter this thread: Tastes differ. People are judgmental.

I'm not.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:01 PM
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503: That's very thoughtful of you. You know I like my extremity-mangling to be challenging.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:01 PM
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Shorter this thread: Tastes differ. People are judgmental.

True, but your taste sucks.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:02 PM
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I am lucky that I've never liked the taste of wine. I can skip the pairings!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:03 PM
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wine, tax and tip

Tax and tip aren't included? Looking at their menu, it says "service included". So $550 without the wine.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:04 PM
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they doubled the cost of the meal

Oof.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:07 PM
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LB, you may just have to send Buck to Per Se by himself.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:08 PM
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I really wasn't that impressed with the wine pairings,

I'll bet it's because they were served in boring old liquid form.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:09 PM
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488: I shall prepare my most sophisticated "Steely Dan sucks" rant for the occasion! Thanks, Nick!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:10 PM
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If I were at a restaurant and got hundreds of dollars worth of wine, I would feel completely self-conscious and tense about focusing on every single sip. Should I drink the wine right after a bite, or should I cleanse my palate with water first? Aigh! Too much pressure!

I'm not at all opposed to spending lots of money on food and/or wine; it's just a bit stressful (less so with the food, because I'm infinitely more experienced at tasting and focusing on food).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:10 PM
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If I were at a restaurant and got hundreds of dollars worth of wine, I would feel completely self-conscious and tense about focusing on every single sip.

Parvenu.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:12 PM
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526

Wine is great. I love wine. I like to drink wine while listening to Jethro Tull, as did Hitler.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:15 PM
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Maybe Eleven Madison Park. Still way out of our league, but less so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:15 PM
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If I were at a restaurant and got hundreds of dollars worth of wine, I would feel completely self-conscious and tense about focusing on every single sip. Should I drink the wine right after a bite, or should I cleanse my palate with water first? Aigh! Too much pressure!

Deep breaths! It is supposed to be about pleasure. There is no exam at the end.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:15 PM
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Actually, the wine helps you deal with the pressure pretty well.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:19 PM
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We could take up a "send LB and Buck to Per Se" collection. If we're really nice, we wouldn't even have to demand they get cancer first.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:19 PM
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531

We'd settle for bronchitis.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:21 PM
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532

I've got the sniffles a little?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:21 PM
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533

I am lucky that I've never liked the taste of wine.

No wonder you throw things off buildings.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:21 PM
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528: Although... what a great idea that would be for a restaurant. You could call it the "Pressure Cookery."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:25 PM
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Bill dependent on your final score -- if you really didn't understand and appreciate the food, the cost skyrockets.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:26 PM
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We could take up a "send LB and Buck to Per Se" collection.

I think that, considering the ethical issues involved in singling out one person on the blog to sponsor, this would only be reasonable if they promised to live-blog the meal.

Perhaps not even then.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:27 PM
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"I am inordinately fond of this appetizer."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:28 PM
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538

OT:

Hey, the House just voted to end the insurance industry's antitrust exemption? I didn't know that was in process. Wonder if it's got a shot in the Senate.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:29 PM
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539

I remember my dalliances with bronchitis with some fondness. It was harder to breathe, but never so hard as when I was laughing. Now, instead of those clattering, hypoxic convulsions, I mostly remember the laughter.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:31 PM
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540

And squirrels.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:32 PM
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541

Excerpted from my forthcoming memoir, Disease: Not So Bad.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:36 PM
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542

If I were at a restaurant and got hundreds of dollars worth of wine, I would feel completely self-conscious and tense about focusing on every single sip. Should I drink the wine right after a bite, or should I cleanse my palate with water first? Aigh! Too much pressure!

It's the job of the various servers to ease that pressure. Really good ones succeed, no?

If I could remotely afford it, I'd dine at sublimely outstanding restaurants as often as the mood struck me ... but contra Halford way back at 245, it's not a simple matter to afford it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:43 PM
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543

It's the job of the various servers to ease that pressure.

Well, and it is also the point of getting the wine pairings. No stress at all! They're picking for you! Sit back and enjoy!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:47 PM
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544

I just meant affordable relatively to other ludicrous luxuries designed for super-rich plutocrats, not that these kinds of restaurants are in any sense reasonably affordable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:47 PM
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545

He's right that a meal at a top end restaurant is something that lots of people actually could afford occasionally without significantly changing their financial position -- most people in the US have, for example, a car that runs, and if it broke down irretrievably would find a way to replace it, and it'd be hard to buy a car that runs for much less than the cost of a meal for two at Per Se.

But of course you're right that most people (me!) are in an income bracket where they'd be very frivolous and ill advised to spend their money that way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:49 PM
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"I am inordinately fond of this appetizer."

Bo-ring. More like:

Moan.
Oh sorry, are you guys there? Sorry, orgasm in my mouth.
Um, oh, pretty much a clitoral orgasm, I'd say, still though pretty good.
Tablemate agrees. We're pretending to make eyes at each other but our mouths are kind of going nuts here, so. This was just the amuse bouche. Feelin' kind of sparkly now.

Later ...

Well. You don't really want to know, do you?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:53 PM
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LB, you want to be the judge of who has better captured your potential live-blogging?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:56 PM
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parsimon reminds me: what does restaurant etiquette have to say about audible moans? I've had entire dinner conversations that rarely strayed from "omg this is sooo good" and I do think at some point I might be liable to moan.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:58 PM
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549

If, indeed, I have not already moaned.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 5:58 PM
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550

Well. You don't really want to know, do you?

Nope.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:02 PM
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Wait, 537 was what I'd be likely to say liveblogging a spectacular meal? As was 546?

I guess I do say 'inordinately fond' a lot, come to think of it.

546, on the other hand, I don't think I'd be likely to describe food in terms of orgasm quality. Possibly I've just never been in a restaurant that good, though.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:02 PM
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Sometimes you say "quite fond."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:04 PM
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551: By all reports, Per Se is good enough to make your fondness for any given appetizer decidedly ordinate.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:07 PM
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That's for things that I'm not embarrassed about my level of fondness for. "Irrationally fond", which I just used of Chesterton over at Crooked Timber the other day, is for things where I'm embarrassed about liking them at all.

Really, I get a little worried whenever I deviate from Spock-like impassivity.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:08 PM
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555

Well, don't let that worry show.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:09 PM
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556

And stay away from exploding flowers.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:11 PM
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what does restaurant etiquette have to say about audible moans?

I think you're supposed to keep it at the level of a low murmur (indistinguishable therefrom), and accompany it with broad grins and smiles and the occasional joyful throaty laugh.

Then it's okay.

That kind of thing is a different kind of dining altogether, I think. It'd be bizarre as hell to have people at the nearest table conducting a business meeting at the same time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:15 PM
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491 It's been a while for me, but Cafe Boulud over Daniel's, really?.

LB and others, a couple ways of making that insanely expensive meal just horribly expensive. First, check if they have a BYO policy, and if so what their corkage fee is. Secondly, just have one person do the full lovely menu, while the other does two appetizers and share. FInally, when traveling, skip hotels and stick to camping, preferably in fields; limit your eating out to the absolute minimum and cook for yourselves - lots of bread with coldcuts and cheese. Then take all that money you saved and blow it on one wonderful meal. Speaking from experience here - the first two were how my ex and I did one great restaurant meal a year, the latter was how my parents traveled in France when I was growing up. Still not an option for the dirt poor cohabiting childless couple, poor solo living single, or for middle income families, but for everyone else, if you really have your mind set on this, you can do it.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:22 PM
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559

When my brother was little, he would sigh contentedly with a high-pitched mmmmhhh while eating. Without being aware that he was doing so. Just so happy to be eating. It is reported that it was very funny.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:25 PM
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560

I love the vacant expression that toddlers get on their faces when they're eating something really tasty, like they don't really have a sense of it being something you'd want to communicate, so all the enjoyment's internal and the external world is totally tuned out.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:28 PM
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Secondly, just have one person do the full lovely menu, while the other does two appetizers and share.

Most places these days won't allow that, FWIW. The menu is for the table.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:34 PM
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Cafe Boulud over Daniel's, really?

Yes, but I am an odd case, insofar as I am a vegetarian and Café Boulud has a complete vegetarian menu (Le Potager) as one of its four "flights" or whatever they call them (uh, menus I guess).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:34 PM
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560: There's a picture of Sally at about one with her little fangs buried in a spare rib and her eyes rolled back into her head with bliss that I will treasure forever. (Third word, after Dada and Mama? Meat.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:35 PM
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564

Third word, after Dada and Mama? Meat.

Terrifying! How do you and Buck sleep at night?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:39 PM
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560: Kind of like that philosophical look dogs get when they're chewing on a really good bone.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:40 PM
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560, 563: I had a neighbor once who worked in a fancy Italian restaurant and would always bring home still-full osso bucco bones for my dog.* He would go into a trance while eating them: his eyes would roll back in his head and he'd sort of do this rhythmic zen-like nomming.

*The vast majority of people who ordered it left the marrow in the bone. Weird.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:40 PM
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567

*The vast majority of people who ordered it left the marrow in the bone. Weird.

That's seriously wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:42 PM
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568

564: With one eye open.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:42 PM
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569

He would go into a trance while eating them: his eyes would roll back in his head and he'd sort of do this rhythmic zen-like nomming.

Exactly what I was referring to!

*The vast majority of people who ordered it left the marrow in the bone. Weird.

When I was getting taken out to expensive restaurants a lot by lawfirmpeople, osso bucco was a hot menu item, and lots of them ordered it. About 90% of them refused to eat the marrow. So crazy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:43 PM
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568: and the other one rolled back in meat-trance.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:44 PM
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While I did find the meals I had at Per Se and WD-50 delicious, I think it cedes too much for Team Alinea to defend this cuisine by saying it does in fact taste good to its partisans. I think the great examples of it do taste as good as anything you can get at the best traditional haute cuisine restaurants, but the key ingredient they're adding isn't novelty. It truly is, as Di mentioned above, intellectual engagement, which can be well worth it even if a dish does not fully succeed on a gustatory level. That obviously can't happen all the time, but is possible to find such a dish genuinely interesting, in the sense that it provides real intellectual pleasure. No one would think it strange to hear someone say that a book was a must-read despite its clumsy prose because it worked out some amazing new ideas, nor that it was better than another on the same subject that had page-turning prose but a thesis that had been covered a thousand times already. I don't see anything inherent in restaurant cooking that prevents it from similarly being evaluated on such multiple dimensions.

And definitely Cafe Boulud over Daniel for me, because I didn't receive the VIP treatment at Daniel that was too-obviously being given to certain of the other diners and appeared to be delivered by subtracting service from the rest of the room.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:45 PM
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I don't know if I've ever eaten osso buco, but if I did, I didn't know to eat the marrow, unless it was obvious.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:46 PM
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573

570: Meat Trance: a rave at a BBQ joint.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:47 PM
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574

I don't know whether Kai has actually ever tasted food - everything gets shoved in as fast as possible. He ate 2 clementines in rapid succession this afternoon (to be clear, this was on a decidedly non-empty stomach).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:47 PM
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575

I gave Hawaiian Punch some food that was too hot today and she used a sippy cup really well for the first time. (I felt bad when she started crying, though.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:50 PM
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572: The restaurant usually supplies a special little spoon to scoop it out with. Also, I would usually ask, politely, why they weren't eating it. I could never bring myself to ask if I could eat it instead, seeing as these dinners were also a type of evaluation. In retrospect though, I totallyl should have.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:50 PM
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561 How annoying, it was the mention of Daniel's that brought it to mind, did it twice that way. Another thing I forgot to mention, unless you're at an income level where going out to a top end restaurant is an expensive indulgence, but one you can afford once or twice a year without much of a problem, don't get nice wine. That hundred fifty dollar bottle - you can get it for fifty at a store, and it will taste just as good with that special home cooked meal. If they don't do corkage, just keep the wine consumption and price level to an absolute minimum. Sure, it makes the meal better, but it's the food that really matters.

Another way of pulling it off is finding that hidden gem. Did that in Paris in a tiny, somewhat dingy, very crowded place in a decrepit working class area on the edge of the city run by a chef by the name of Eric Frechon. A year or two later he moved to a super expensive place in the center, quickly picking up three stars and then voted France's top chef by his peers. Not cheap, but a multicourse top end meal for two at around two hundred bucks wasn't bad even in 1999. And that was one of our two sit down restaurant meals in eight days in Paris.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:52 PM
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578

Then I've never had it. I would try it though, but probably not for every day.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:53 PM
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579

Deep breaths! It is supposed to be about pleasure. There is no exam at the end.

Yeah, but I can pleasurably slug down $9 chianti without paying attention to it. If I'm paying $250 for something, I'd like to notice how it tastes, which, for me, is not how I typically drink things (I generally savor the first and last mouthfuls, but in between I'm essentially washing down my food - gauche, I know).

TBH, I've always avoided learning about good wine, because I can't afford it. I've had enough to know that it's better, but I can't risk getting accustomed to it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:55 PM
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578: Some places even have a little sign attached to the shankbone which features an arrow pointing to the marrow, the words "Eat Me", and a little meat-trance icon.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:55 PM
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581

little meat-trance icon.

Meatist.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:57 PM
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582

Osso Bucco is a pretty expensive way of eating marrow, though well worth it in its own right. Find an old school butcher shop and buy marrow bones for a buck a pound or less, then roast, braise, boil, whatever - get some good mild sourdough bread, lightly toast it, add good salt, eat, and swoon. (I think that foodies overdo the good salt fetish, for most stuff it doesn't make much of a difference over standard kosher, but there are exceptions where you want to have some at home.)


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 6:57 PM
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583

I heard that Marilyn Manson had one of his ribs removed so that he could suck his own marrow.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:00 PM
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TBH, I've always avoided learning about good wine, because I can't afford it. I've had enough to know that it's better, but I can't risk getting accustomed to it.

This had kinda happened to me by the time I went off to college. (For the record, this is not because my first communion luncheon was held at Le Pyramide or something, but rather because dad was a bartender and big brother is a wine consultant and we always had wine and I was always allowed to drink it.) I couldn't drink Carlo Rossi or whatever. My parents would bring me cases of cheap-but-good wine when they visited.

But seriously -- I can't afford anything either, but I am very good at picking wines along the good/cheap axes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:01 PM
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Wouldn't you end up wasting some of the stuff with a spoon? Just hold it up larger hole down and bang on it. The marrow will come up in one nice chunk.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:01 PM
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I thought the cool thing about wine was that it was always possible to find bargains? I mean, if you know what the expensive stuff is like, then you're better equipped to realize that a five dollar bottle is actually totally credible, and then all is hooray.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:06 PM
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I don't know THAT much about wine, but I do know a bit, and the main reason to gain knowledge about wine IMO is to be able to spot bargains in the cheapish (under $30 at a store) range (although, to be honest, most of my knowledge and selections come from a guy at a wine shop). There's a huge variance in the quality of wine available at that price, everything from very, very good to undrinkable.

Really great wine is amazing, but is very dangerous for the wallet. But there's a lot of wine that's extraordinarily good but not "great" that's not that pricey and that is available with not too difficult searching.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:09 PM
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Blandings gets it completely right in 571.1. After that it's a matter of preference.

You marrow people are kind of grossing me out. Personal preference, personal preference!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:09 PM
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586: Agree strongly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:12 PM
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For an easy resource, I've used wines from this list before and they're way, way, way better than what you can get at the corner store for the same price.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:13 PM
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My son wants Taco Bell after his hockey game.

Took the wife to the Inn at Little Washington for a big birthday a few years back. Boatload of dough for mere food. I think I basically top out at about 60 pp: after that it's interesting but not really justified for me.

Anniversary tomorrow, though. Going to try a high end place.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:17 PM
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Where I definitely fall down on the job is exploring new wines in order to be able to find the bargains. (A whole bottle, such a commitment!) Also I fail at remembering and re-finding wines once I identify them. The obvious answer here is that I need to start thinking in terms of sampling bottles and buying cases.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:17 PM
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A whole bottle, such a commitment!

Especially when pregnant!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:18 PM
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Boatload of dough for mere food. I think I basically top out at about 60 pp: after that it's interesting but not really justified for me.

Quite possibly! I also think the Inn really is mere food in a way that some other fancy places are not.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:19 PM
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Yes, but I'll be unpregnant ANY TIME NOW! (And then I'll still probably spend my money on whiskey rather than wine.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:20 PM
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To introduce an analogy, there are bands that go up on stage and perform their hearts out in blue jeans and t-shirts, and there are bands that go out with live ocelots on their heads. I tend to suspect that the band with the ocelots may not be focusing as much on making music

But the stage act is totally relevant to the evaluation of rock music. The clothes, the posing, the sexy. This is part of the art. Elvis would not be Elvis if he didn't look so good shaking his business. The same goes for Ninja in his Pink Floyd boxer shorts.

In philosophical aesthetics there is a general question about what properties are aesthetically relevant to the evaluation of an art work or performance. Jroth is pushing toward the formalist end--what matters is the object, and the best appreciation comes when you put the object in a completely neutral context. (Blank art gallery walls bands that wear jeans and a t-shirt.)

I never did well with a restricted context. I tend to think that everything is relevant to aesthetic evaluation.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:21 PM
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Blume has introduced me to the amazing awesomeness of unusual varietals; if you can catch an unfashionable grape on the upswing you can have some really interesting wine for not much money.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:22 PM
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595 is so exciting! Do you have an internet pseudonym picked out yet?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:24 PM
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Sure.

There's whole vast worlds of high end things wasted on me: audio equipment, opera, modern art, white wines, fashion, etc. I'm happy to let the Inn or Komi mark the limits for food.


Posted by: CCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:26 PM
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597: Yeah, a few years ago picpoul de pinet and txakolina were close to unknown and you could snag them way cheap. Both have gone up (picpoul not so much -- still under $20; txakolina moreso, it now hovers just over $20). But keep both in mind as it gets warmer! Super good!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:32 PM
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597 is spot on, and the same holds true for unusual regions. Hot tip: if you learn to like Rieslings or Grüner Veltliners at all there are just some unbelievably good white wines at cheap prices out there, because those varietals aren't to US taste.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:32 PM
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596: Jroth is pushing toward the formalist end--what matters is the object, and the best appreciation comes when you put the object in a completely neutral context

I think you're distorting JRoth's view in the interest of schematizing the question.

587: the main reason to gain knowledge about wine IMO is to be able to spot bargains in the cheapish (under $30 at a store) range

Halford! Under $30 is not cheapish. What are your assumptions as to income here?

PGD is very knowledgeable about wine, but he's not around much.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:33 PM
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That wine.com list is a nice resource, but, unsurprisingly given the source of the ratings, is heavily focused on new world or internationally-styled wines (i.e., rich, extracted, and jammy). If that's your taste, you win, but if it's not, someone else's high ratings don't really matter. The best thing to do is find a local store that seems to take wine reasonably seriously, give them a price range and have them put together a mixed case, pay attention to what you liked and didn't like and why, and go back with that information. If they're any good, they'll be picking out wines that are a great match for you for years. If their second round isn't more to your taste than the first, find a new store and repeat. If you're going to be drinking wine periodically anyway, the cost of a case is only a timing issue.

Also, if a whole bottle is too much to drink at once, buy a couple of wines in half-bottles one time and keep the bottles when they're empty. Then whenever you open a new full bottle, immediately pour half in the half-bottle, cork it leaving no air space, and throw it in the fridge. It will last far longer than you will need it to.

Finally, muscadet is your best value in wine today.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:36 PM
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Again, I'm just saying relative to the world of very expensive wine. Once you start to get north of $30/bottle, in many ways knowledge starts to matter less -- you're probably going to get a very good bottle, and the only question is whether you're overpaying or could have gotten a really spectacular bottle for the price. Under $30, there are plenty of true duds but also lots of great stuff. And there's plenty of good cheap wine for $10 and under -- at those prices, wine is generally a cheaper way to get more drunk than almost anything non-blindness making, so we're not really talking about something you need to be a yacht owner to enjoy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:38 PM
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603 was I.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:38 PM
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SnarKit?


Posted by: CC | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:39 PM
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Finally, muscadet is your best value in wine today.

Muscadet is the house white Chez Nous. (At my mommy's it is gruner.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:40 PM
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I think you're distorting JRoth's view in the interest of schematizing the question.

Did I mention that Aristotle is one of my favorite philosophers?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:41 PM
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Did I mention that Aristotle is one of my favorite philosophers?

You sure you went to St. John's?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:43 PM
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We dig us some Gruner Veltliner. What else have we been drinking? Carmenere, Albarinho, Garnacha, Tempranillo. We got a Vouvray the other day but it was weird and really sweet.

We should try some Muscadet.

I should drink some wine right now. Wait! I already did, and it's gone!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:47 PM
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To elaborate a bit: my budget is ±$10/bottle. In PA, which, aside from pretty much not selling most of the wines I've ever had recommended to me, charges more for a bottle of wine than other states. IOW, I'm looking at bottles that you lucky bastards would be paying $7-8/bottle for. So I'm not having a lot of great options to begin with.

Furthermore, it's not at all clear to me how this is supposed to work:
it was always possible to find bargains? I mean, if you know what the expensive stuff is like, then you're better equipped to realize that a five dollar bottle is actually totally credible

They don't let me sample bottles at the state store. I have to buy the whole thing which, again, is a decent cash commitment. There are wines that I like in that price range, which I then buy again.

I could see how knowing that Region X makes good, reasonably priced wines could help me suss out some down-market options from Region X, but actually tasting the $30 bottle from Region X is just going to remind me that, unsurprisingly, the $10 bottle from Region X is not nearly as good. I'm happier in ignorance, believing that 47 Lb. Rooster is a decent pinot noir.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:49 PM
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Also, if a whole bottle is too much to drink at once, buy a couple of wines in half-bottles one time and keep the bottles when they're empty. Then whenever you open a new full bottle, immediately pour half in the half-bottle, cork it leaving no air space, and throw it in the fridge. It will last far longer than you will need it to.

You just blew my mind!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:50 PM
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608: Chaos ensues.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:51 PM
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610: I love temperanillo and albarinho. Amusingly, we first tried temperanillo in Zürich.

The list in 590 looks quite helpful; a fair number of those I've seen, and at least some are available at comparable prices*. Bookmarked.

* This is part of where PA is so odd: the Chateau Ste. Michelle is $15 here, $11 there, while the Casa Lapostelle is (I'm almost certain) $11 here and $13 there. But IME wines are almost always pricier here, sales and Chairman's Selections aside. Liquor, as I've noted before, is a few bucks cheaper per bottle, and much less when on sale.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:53 PM
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Furthermore, it's not at all clear to me how this is supposed to work

Like this, potentially.

but actually tasting the $30 bottle from Region X is just going to remind me that, unsurprisingly, the $10 bottle from Region X is not nearly as good

Surprisingly often false, in my experience. And some regions (and some varietals), the wines just don't get expensive.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:55 PM
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Ive had some expensive wines, and enjoyed most of them. But, I love Almos Malbec at $9.00. Excellent wine for a great price.

I just cant justify spending anything more than $20.00 for a bottle of wine when there are so many fabulous wines under $20.00.

Same goes for restaurants. Ive had some great meals but I would just as soon eat at Nate's taco truck or La Pecora Nera in Costa Rica as I would Tour D'Argent. After a certain point, the price hurts too much.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:56 PM
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Liquor taxes in OH are annoying. It will be exciting to have one thing, at least, be cheaper when we are in CA next year.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:58 PM
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I also think the Inn really is mere food in a way that some other fancy places are not.

This is very surprising to me; their cookbook is by far the best restaurant-associated cookbook I've seen/used (although Balthazar's is pretty damn good as well). They would be high on my list of splurge dinners. What was the flaw?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 7:59 PM
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when we are in CA next year.

Wait, what? Shit, we've never had a Pgh meetup.

You need to see your mother more.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:00 PM
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Yes, you should try some Muscadet. Domaine Pepiere or Luneau Papin if you can find it.

Vouvray is great but can be a little tough to get a handle on because they don't mention sweetness on the label. Savennières, just up the road in the Loire, will give you chenin blanc that is definitely dry.

In case it's useful to anyone, here's a list of highly-recommended $15-and-under wines I just sent to a friend (availability outside of NYC not guaranteed):
- J.P. Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien and Beaujolais Blanc (chardonnay), also Domaine Vissoux - Pierre Chermette Beaujolais
- Chateau d'Oupia Minervois
- Guion Bourgeuil
- Anything by Clos Roche Blanche- Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Cab Franc
- Deux Anes Corbieres
- Sella Orbello
- Sandro Fay Rosso di Valtellina


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:01 PM
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620 is great. Drop more oenoscience, pls.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:02 PM
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Domaine Pepiere

And this one exactly!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:02 PM
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The best advice really is to simply go to free wine tastings and buy $15 bottles of wine. Experiment. Ask the store experts.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:05 PM
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596.1 ignores that Bruce Springsteen, exemplar of the jeans-and-t-shirt model, is arguably the greatest live performer of the rock era. Which was a big part of my point - stripping away spectacle (ocelots, dry ice*) doesn't mean a "black box" performance.

In 1950s America, tableside preparation of caesar salad or fettucine alfredo was the essence of fine dining to middlebrow America. For some reason, people no longer feel that way. It's almost as if... the novelty wore off. The recipes remain, of course - good food is good food - but most people no longer think that watching a waiter toss pasta with cheese is an extraordinary experience, worth a trip to another city.

* for both parts of the analogy; clever, eh?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:07 PM
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610: I had a really good Argentinan Bonarda/Muscadet combo recently. About $15, IIRC.

JRoth, I'm going to sound like a pimp for a website (and I totally agree with Blandings in 603, a good wine shop is better if you can find one), but why not order your wine online now? The Supreme Court has made it legal, and you can buy at national prices, plus a little bit for shipping. Especially valuable if you're trying to keep costs under $10.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:09 PM
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picpoul de pinet and txakolina

AFAIK, neither of these is available at my state store (one of the 2-3 best in the region). I half-suspect you're putting me on.

It's a wasteland here, people, is what I'm saying.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:09 PM
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You just blew my mind!

I had no expectation that this would be mind-blowing, but some people do spend real money on those ridiculous vacuum-pump or inert-gas preservation things, and others just leave half-full bottles around and wonder why they get oxidized, so i figured I'd throw a workable, low-tech solution out there.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:10 PM
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The Supreme Court has made it legal

Wait, even in PA? Last I heard, if I mail-order to PA, they have to send it to a state store, where I have to pick it up and pay state excise taxes on it.

If that's not the case, then I'll be taking your advice.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:10 PM
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626: Are you allowed to order wine from out of state in PA? Here in CA/snarkfox land the wine selection is shitty -- but I rationalize purchasing cases from my favorite store in Chicago since the shipping basically equals the tax I'd have to pay in a store.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:11 PM
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You can order wine online to any state now, really?

624.1: how is Bruce Springsteen stripping away spectacle? You have seen the dude perform, right? Just because he's wearing a different costume doesn't actually mean he's not wearing a costume.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:12 PM
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628: The website seems to suggest that this is not the case. Will investigate!

Although shipping prices seem high high high.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:12 PM
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I had no expectation that this would be mind-blowing, but some people do spend real money on those ridiculous vacuum-pump or inert-gas preservation things, and others just leave half-full bottles around and wonder why they get oxidized, so i figured I'd throw a workable, low-tech solution out there.

What I do is not spend the real money, and know perfectly well what happens to half-full bottles, so this simple solution that I never thought of is pure brilliance as far as I'm concerned.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:14 PM
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Just because he's wearing a different costume doesn't actually mean he's not wearing a costume.

Dude. Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:16 PM
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wine.com tells me that it is unable to ship to MD. Due to laws.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:16 PM
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Re: The Inn at Little Washington, (a) well, I'm a vegetarian, anyway, so don't listen to me; (b) I'm not saying there's a flaw, I'm saying that it's not uniquely good. So it's not that it's not worth the money, it's just that you could certainly have an equally rich life without eating there. It was an attempt to make some mild claim about why it might be the kind of place that inspires thoughts of diminishing dollar-to-pleasure returns despite being excellent.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:16 PM
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Although shipping prices seem high high high.

But you're not paying taxes! Rationalize!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:17 PM
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I truly appreciate 615.1. But $25/head (plus babysitter) for a wine tasting is simply not happening in the foreseeable future. Neither are $15 bottles - we spend too much on liquor as it is.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:18 PM
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I can't rationalize $12.55 shipping on a $10.99 bottle of wine.

But I know you don't really buy by the bottle. That was just a little jarring.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:19 PM
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Huh, we turn out to have a bottle of Muscadet in our house RIGHT NOW. Weird.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:19 PM
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Count me as a vote against The Inn at Little Washington. Nothing wrong with the food, but not worth going out of your way to eat there.

Id rather eat at almost any Eithopian place in DC than The Inn.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:20 PM
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if you learn to like Rieslings or Grüner Veltliners at all there are just some unbelievably good white wines at cheap prices out there you will be depressed because they sell such shitty ones in this country.

(Not that you can't find any at all. But man oh man, do I love Germany.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:20 PM
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Re: The Inn at Little Washington, (a) well, I'm a vegetarian, anyway, so don't listen to me

Actually, they're my go-to for both veg broth (as a staple recipe) and a specific rutabega cream soup that is, to me, the ultimate sign of autumn's arrival. But I suppose most of the rest of it is non-veg. (and I've no idea about the IRL menu).

From the rest of what you've said, it sounds like it's maybe not hugely better than the best that's available, say, here (have you ever eaten at Bona Terra in Sharpsburg? They're quite veg-friendly).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:22 PM
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Fifty bucks for unlimited shipping for a year from wine.com.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:22 PM
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I don't think I've ever had muscadet. Making a mental note. 592 could describe me as well; I'm pretty bad at remembering what I liked. Sometimes I end up accidentally picking up the thing near it in the store that I really hated.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:23 PM
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JRoth:

Many stores have free wine tastings on fridays or saturdays.

In your city, the secret password is jagoff.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:23 PM
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But you're not paying taxes! Rationalize!

Hey now, wait. The state can probably use the taxes. You're saving how much on a case? Which is an amount that you can't afford to give to the state?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:24 PM
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The list in 620 looks great, thanks.

I just fooled around on wine.com, and it looks like you can ship to Pittsburgh (I didn't actually purchase the bottle -- sorry, and it would have gone to the Days Inn address I got on Google and not to you anyway, but it looks pretty good). You can pay $50 to get free unlimited shipping for a year, which is totally worth it if you're using them as your main source for wine buying.

/pimping commercial website, go to a good wine store if you don't live in the Keystone State.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:27 PM
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I've ordered stuff from wine.com before (Lucien Albrecht sparkling rosé, which isn't sold at any stores right around here). Their selection isn't super awesome-- you're not going to find a lot of the more interesting varietals there. But maybe compared to the state store it would still be good.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:30 PM
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Yeah, I mean, it's not like a good wine shop, but super easy if you're lazy or busy, and cheap. And (I know you weren't saying this) not all good cheap wine comes from unusual varietals or regions -- even though Blandings is totally right about what the big time international wine market, and wine.com, select for.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:34 PM
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For Springsteen in particular, the jeans-and-a-t- shirt are a big time prop in his act. He's not wearing the clothes he threw on in the morning, he's wearing Working Class New Jersey Authenticity. Not that there's anything wrong with that.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:36 PM
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Having never really considered buying a bottle of wine except to bring to a party, I would try to mock JRoth's enthusiasm for doing so in parallel structure with his earlier mocking of people's enthusiasm for new foods, but I feel too nervous.


Posted by: Cryptic ne3d | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:38 PM
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if you can catch an unfashionable grape on the upswing you can have some really interesting wine for not much money

You heard it here first: Summers Charbono. Fucking awesome and dead cheap for the quality.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:38 PM
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Also, K&L Lynch, which has an online store, has a pretty decent (maybe not great, I'm not an expert!) German and Austrian wine section. At least good enough to keep me happy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:40 PM
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624: Bruce Springsteen, exemplar of the jeans-and-t-shirt model, is arguably the greatest live performer of the rock era.

See, now this argument goes nowhere as long as someone is claiming this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:41 PM
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if you learn to like Rieslings or Grüner Veltliners at all you will be depressed because they sell such shitty ones in this country.

Not true, or at least not entirely true. They sell plenty of shitty ones, but also plenty of really good ones. In particular, look for anything imported by Terry Thiese.

Protip: If you're buying an unfamiliar wine, don't buy off the front label, buy off the back label. Look for an importer with a well-curated portfolio whose taste you can generally trust. For me, that's Terry Thiese, Michael Skurnik, Louis/Dressner, Rosenthal, Weygandt-Metzler, Jenny & Francois.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:41 PM
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how is Bruce Springsteen stripping away spectacle? You have seen the dude perform, right? Just because he's wearing a different costume doesn't actually mean he's not wearing a costume.

You seem to be missing the point entirely.

First of all, while jeans-and-a-t-shirt may or may not, in reality, be a costume for Mr. Springsteen, they are, in reality, ordinary clothing for American males. It is, in a sense, unmarked*. That is different from, say, Elton John ca. 1977. The two performers are not simply making an arbitrary choice, with no significance, between two costumes that signify the same basic thing. Ian Anderson has said that their decision to go from performing in street clothes (him in the coat his father tossed him when he kicked him out of the house) to wearing costumes and doing staged bits was a conscious effort at stagecraft, providing a bit of theater to the audience - he seems to think there's a difference between the two poles of performance and what they provide the audience.

Secondly, my point was never that one thing is "normal" (thus good) and the other is "fancy" (thus bad); my point is that one thing is foregrounding the product, while the other is foregrounding the presentation. Unless you're simply going to deny that such a thing is ever possible, in any artform, I don't see how you're going to dispute this.

Some people say that ideal restaurant service is invisible - present when needed, otherwise absent. Say what you will about Alinea, the original video I linked does not represent that ideal. That's not necessarily a bad thing - neither better nor worse, but different. My skepticism (cynicism?) of Alinea-style dining is that the excitement over it is based as much on the spectacle (which to an extent includes the transformed food) as on the product.

And yes, Bruce Springsteen was my first rock concert (and I've seen him twice since). I'd say that you have to use a very literalist meaning of "spectacle" to describe it as primarily that.

* or, rather, marked as "ordinary"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:41 PM
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650: He really does dress like that. I'm not disagreeing that it's a prop, but it is pretty much what he wears around the house. (My sources tell me.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:42 PM
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658

I don't know if I've ever eaten osso buco, but if I did, I didn't know to eat the marrow, unless it was obvious.

No, it's not obvious. It just looks like a bone.


Posted by: Cryptic ne3d | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:42 PM
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659

655 mentions my brother's boss.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:44 PM
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660

Many stores have free wine tastings on fridays or saturdays.

Clearly not getting how dire the situation is in PA.

Until about 4 years ago, they literally never had tastings. Now they have them, and they usually feature an awful flavored liquor plus a bottle or two of crappy domestic* wine.

Often as not, the free Wheat Thins are better than the alcohol on offer. And I hate Wheat Thins.

* not that I think domestic wines are crap. that's just the tendency


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:44 PM
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661

my point is that one thing is foregrounding the product, while the other is foregrounding the presentation.

And rob's point (as I understand it) is that by framing the argument this way you are implicitly accepting that "product" and "presentation" can be meaningfully separated, which is one possible position on the issue but not the only one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:48 PM
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662

See, now this argument goes nowhere as long as someone is claiming this.

I was wondering if I'd get away with that. I did say "arguably."

Anyway, my point was that flashpots, unusually costumery, and laser lightshows are in no way necessary to truly top-notch rock performances.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:48 PM
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663

I've got a love hate thing going with Muscadet. Best wine there is for raw shellfish, not that great for anything else. Talking about lesser known Loire wines ending in nières, I'd recommend Jasnières as an even better value than Savenières. Hard to find but easily the best value white I've had in a long time (c. $20).

German Rieslings aren't as good a value as they used to be, and I was spoiled by living smack in the middle of German wine country where you could by them direct from the producers at the same price they sell to wholesalers i.e. c. forty percent of the US pre-tax retail price. Of course that meant that local stores carried no local wine. I'd recommend the Mittelrhein ones as good value, also wines from the little known lower Mosel town of Winningen (Heymann Loewenstein non Pradikat dry Rieslings are amazing, and some of his crazier experiments work surprising well (e.g. a dry?! Beerenauslese) and the Knebels make pretty good wine as well.) I also very strongly recommend visiting the vineyards, best winery experience by far - full selection of tastings for free. One guy (Prum) needed to go to the post office, so he just brought out his full selection, including some Beerenausleses and said, drink what you want, I'll be back in half an hour; another one spent an hour drinking and chatting one on one with the grungy grad student on his rental bike, giving a great tutorial plus great wines (why yes Herr Schaefer, I would like to try that '76 Spaetlese.... moan... How. Much.? Oh, that's just what we were drinking at lunch, it's not for sale but I thought you might like to see how good these can be after a quarter century of cellaring).


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:49 PM
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664

I'd like to second Mr. Blandings endorsement of anything imported by Terry Thiese.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:52 PM
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665

661: Fair enough, and I do take his point - the choice to present work "generically" is just as loaded as the choice to present it "stylishly." But with food, music, and architectural drawings, there's an underlying thing that can be extricated from presentation: to pretend that a design for a building doesn't exist apart from its presentation is to take a philosophical position to an absurd extreme.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:53 PM
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666

657: I'm sure Elton John wore those glasses everyday, oudemia.

Hey, everybody, I'm dressed like a rock star right now.

OK, probably not the striped dress socks or LL Bean houseshoes.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:54 PM
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667

"every day"


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:55 PM
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668

Most useful thread in a long time!


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:55 PM
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669

662: I did say "arguably."

I noticed. Good thing, too.

I've stayed out of the molecular gastronomy discussion for the most part, but for what it's worth, 656 and its previous versions make complete sense. I'll even throw in, daringly, that I endorse Togolosh on fashion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:55 PM
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670

But with food, music, and architectural drawings, there's an underlying thing that can be extricated from presentation: to pretend that a design for a building doesn't exist apart from its presentation is to take a philosophical position to an absurd extreme.

I truly do miss the analogy ban.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:57 PM
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671

Most useful thread in a long time!

If you like wine, I guess. Personally I'm wondering why the hell I bothered to read the whole thing. But then, there are few things I have less interest in or knowledge about than aesthetics.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:57 PM
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672

my point is that one thing is foregrounding the product, while the other is foregrounding the presentation. Unless you're simply going to deny that such a thing is ever possible, in any artform, I don't see how you're going to dispute this.

I think I'm saying that (1) the product contains a lot of what you are calling presentation, (2) the line between product and presentation is really fuzzy and context dependent and (3) you can never completely separate product and presentation. .

You may not actually disagree with any of these points. My real beef is with people who think they get Purist Points for focusing only product.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:57 PM
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673

Addendum to Blandings' 655: looking for a Terry Thiese neck label is a really good idea for champagnes, too.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:59 PM
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674

The Supreme Court didn't actually make it legal in most states, but many people are so confused, and enforcement is so bad, that it's effectively legal. (What the Supreme Court did was strike down discrimination by a state between shipping in-state wines and shipping out-of-state wines. Places that banned both are unaffected. But compliance is poor.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 8:59 PM
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675

To elaborate on 670, did you mean recorded music? Live music? Musical scores? What's the platonic, presentation-free form of music?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:01 PM
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671 If you're not into wine, don't get into it unless and until you start making good money. On the other hand, for the price of five beers at Pacific Standard you can get a pretty damn nice bottle of wine. I spent less on the two bottles I was carrying around that night than on drinks.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:03 PM
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677

I have no intention of ever getting into wine.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:05 PM
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678

And decent cheap beer isn't hard to find.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:05 PM
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679

Oh, and another thing: the seeming "neutral" contexts tend to favor products with extreme sensory qualities. Wines that you swish in your mouth and spit out are much harsher than wines you want to drink while commenting on unfogged. Dissonant art music is really awful to have on in the background while you are cleaning the house. But really, there is nothing more "pure" about the wine tasting context than the sitting around the house context.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:05 PM
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680

I'm being taken to Ssam Bar tomorrow night. Is it considerably fancier than the regular, old Momofuku? (Which is now the Noodle Bar, I guess?) What should I order?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:06 PM
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681

FRIED CHICKEN


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:07 PM
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682

You should order the tendon!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:08 PM
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683

The pork buns are also good. I regret not getting the country ham selection. The scrapple is kind of meh.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:09 PM
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684

Dissonant art music is really awful to have on in the background while you are cleaning the house.

Sez you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:10 PM
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685

675: What's the platonic, presentation-free form of music?

I somehow doubt that JRoth believes there is such a thing. I'm not sure what the point of reading him that way would be.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:10 PM
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686

Ooh, they have scrapple.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:11 PM
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687

By all means speak for him and tell me what he meant, parsimon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:11 PM
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688

Thanks to all the people giving advice on looking at who imported the wine. Never would have occurred to me, but I'll start checking.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:13 PM
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689

Anniversary dinner.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:17 PM
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690

672: No, I'm certainly not a purist on the matter - I usually plate my food neatly for even a weeknight meal. I don't think 679 is right on the merits (I would expect so-called neutral contexts to favor subtle qualities, not explicit ones), but I don't think it matters - I don't think that the best wine is the one that tastes best without food.

My objection is to positions like 675, which add up to nihilism.

You're right, Tweety, Beethoven's music doesn't exist, because he's not around to perform it anymore. Every performance of the Fifth is equal, because they're all presentations. They're also exactly the same as all performances of "Macarthur Park." Nobody has ever created anything, they've just cooked up clever ways to present it.

I'm done.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:20 PM
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641: Oh God, yes. I fell in love with Rieslings when I was in Germany and have been utterly unable to persuade my family that, no, really, good Riesling does not taste like syrup. I might cry right this minute just thinking about it.

Also, in case it hasn't already been said, this Blandings fellow really ought to comment more.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:20 PM
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692

It's particularly absurd to cite Bruce Springsteen -- who puts on one of the more elaborate and meticulously rehearsed stage acts in rock history, and has an incredibly carefully managed stage persona -- as the example of someone who has somehow stripped music down to its core "product" element. And I love the boss, but come on -- you're just in favor of a particular kind of performance.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:22 PM
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693

What the hell? I'm so lost. You can separate music from performance, right? What is the music that's left when you've extracted the performative aspects? What does it consist of? That's all I want to know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:22 PM
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694

693: MTV's Unplugged.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:25 PM
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695

687: Apologies. Your charitable readings are beyond compare.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:26 PM
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696

Interesting. I didn't know stores offered wine tasting. Isn't that one of the special fun things that you get to do when going to an actual winery?


Posted by: Cryptic ne3d | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:28 PM
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697

What is the music that's left when you've extracted the performative aspects?

Sheet music? Player pianos?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:28 PM
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698

Look, I think JRoth is maing an unsupportable point -- and that restaurant cooking and live music specifically create a product with an inextricable performative element -- but I really would like it explained to me if I'm vastly misunderstanding him.

696: fancy wine stores have the same interest in doing it as wineries do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:30 PM
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699

That should probably be "high end restaurant cooking" in 698.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:31 PM
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700

512 gets it exactly right.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:32 PM
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701

Also, Bruce dresses on stage in something that might conceivably be called ordinary street clothes, but have you seen what Little Stevie is wearing? Clarence Clemons?

Not to mention the Hammersmith Ballroom videos, where the entire E Street band looks like they're auditioning for the role of Bishop Don Magic Juan's understudy for the Player's Club ball


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:33 PM
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702

700: Really? I found it too self-congratulatory.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:34 PM
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703

I am lucky that I've never liked the taste of wine.

Here Megan takes the water enthusiasm way too far.

Having never really considered buying a bottle of wine except to bring to a party,

OMG.

The suggestion to get to know wines by importer is very good. I've found Kermit Lynch to be reliably to my taste, and Ewald Moseler is good for German and Austrian IME.

I'm regretting at the moment having given up alcohol for Lent.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:34 PM
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704

I prefer 517.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:35 PM
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705

700: You really aren't compelled to continue reading, you know.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:37 PM
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706

You're right, Tweety, Beethoven's music doesn't exist, because he's not around to perform it anymore. Every performance of the Fifth is equal, because they're all presentations. They're also exactly the same as all performances of "Macarthur Park." Nobody has ever created anything, they've just cooked up clever ways to present it.

I have to second Sifu's "huh? WTF??" response to this.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:39 PM
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707

702: Really.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:40 PM
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708

this Blandings fellow really ought to comment more

Not until I get my fruit basket.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:41 PM
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709

704: It's okay.

705: I know, and I keep thinking there must be something better for me to be doing. And yet, here I am.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:42 PM
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710

707: Oh, I get it. Should I point out all the funniest comments in this thread?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:44 PM
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711

707. W lfs n missed a redaction. I am surprised.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:44 PM
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712

Did someone upstream mention a ToS hatesong mix from DS? Could someone link to it? I think I need this.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:45 PM
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713

It tastes awful. It always tastes awful. People insist that this time will be different because it is a different kind, or a better one. But it always tastes bad in the same terrible way. I like distilled alcohols, but all wine tastes very, very bad to me. (Beer too. I have the wrong taste buds for fermented drinks.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:45 PM
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714

708: Fetch.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:46 PM
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715

I saw people were saying Per Se costs several hundred dollars, and I just searched the thread for "carte" and "salon", so hopefully this is not redundant: starting with the recession, Per Se created an a la carte menu served in their lounge; it's all the same food, but you can choose to order much less of it. My boyfriend and I ate two main courses, the amuses bouches, a dessert we ordered forgetting that at fancy restaurants you get dessert in the form of little candies and cookies at the end of the meal, all for under 100 dollars including tip. It would have been something like 85 had we not ordered dessert. Counting the amuses, we each got to taste 5 savory dishes--and I think of the point of eating someplace like Per Se is to taste things. Per Se went from being the least accessible gourmet restaurant in New York to being the most. the Jean Georges lunch is only on weekdays; Per Se serves the salon menu whenever they're open.


Posted by: diner | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:47 PM
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716

The only thing that tastes worse than wine is champagne, which is more intensely terrible. People put it in orange juice, which completely ruins the orange juice.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:48 PM
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717

That's what I think.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:49 PM
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718

708: Here's a big jammy fruitbomb of a basket, just for you.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:49 PM
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719

717 to 677.


Posted by: Cf | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:54 PM
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720

teo doesn't like this thread, so his fruitbasket is clearly inferior. He just slopped all that fruit into a basket, like you got it on a lunch line.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:54 PM
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721

M/tch is just jealous of my youthful vigor and speed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:55 PM
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722

717 to 721.


Posted by: Cf | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:56 PM
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723

716: So, Champagne being wine, nothing tastes worse than wine. I can't imagine a universe in which this could remotely be true.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:57 PM
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724

718/720: A full, rich, almost Carmen-Miranda-like fruit basket, with notes of tobacco, cedar, blackberry, road tar, roses (American Beauty), and banana (2-1/2 days overripe), which would merit 95 points if not for the slight, nagging aroma of pwnage.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:57 PM
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725

721: I'm sorry it took me so long to comment. I whipped a lot of cream when I was young.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:58 PM
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726

And yet, here we are.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:58 PM
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727

I don't think teo should be taking speed.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 9:59 PM
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728

And yet, here we are.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:00 PM
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729

724: Sophisticated palates actually appreciate the additional nuances provided by pwnage notes.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:00 PM
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730

OT: What would the collective Mineshaft feeling be about tossing a kitten in the kitchen sink and spraying him with water to teach him not to go in the kitchen sink? ("Spray" as in with the thingy attached to the faucet, not spray as in from one of those mister bottles.) Am I oversensitive to find this disturbing?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:05 PM
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731

I occasionally push my cat out the door when it's raining just to see her react, so maybe I shouldn't be answering 730.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:10 PM
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732

Most kittens will be fine, but be careful, because one out of every 20 or so cats is made of flourine, and will explode when they make contact with water. Cats know this is a possibility, hence their natural distrust of water sources.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:11 PM
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733

730: No.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:12 PM
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734

But wait, did this happen in the kitchen at Alinea?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:13 PM
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735

I KNEW Achatz was an asshole!


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:15 PM
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736

What? Fluorine dissolves in water. Don't you mean one of the alkali metals?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:15 PM
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737

736: Feline fluorine is different.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:17 PM
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738

Most cats are pure sodium. True fact.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:17 PM
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739

I do actually find the scenario described in 730 fairly disturbing, even with my evil cat in the rain doings.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:19 PM
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740

I prefer rubidium. It maximizes the product of bigness-of-boom and coolness-of-name.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:19 PM
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741

736: dammit. I was just googling to try and justify my chemistry there, somehow. I probably should have said cesium, but still, do you want your cat dissolving into a pool of hydroflouric acid?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:20 PM
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742

hydroflouric acid

The dough, it burns!


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:23 PM
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743

do you want your cat dissolving into a pool of hydroflouric acid?

Actually, yes.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:24 PM
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744

Jeez, just don't spray the kitten awfully hard with the faucet attachment thingy.

It's better to do the spraying thing with the bottle or the faucet when the kitten has actually jumped into the sink him/herself. Otherwise it's a little confusing, if you are the one who put him/her in there.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:25 PM
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745

That is to say, pwned again, S-Tweet.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:25 PM
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746

Can it be that no one has warned us to decease from self-abuse in reference to the late former Secretary of Defense? Or did I just miss that?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:26 PM
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747

If you mix libidinum and water it sets your loins on fire.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:27 PM
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748

I'm lost again. The acid cats bonds with the performances of Bruce Springsteen and creates tetrahydraparmesanol and a precipitate of pwn juice?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:28 PM
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749

I'm lost again. The acid cats bonds with the performances of Bruce Springsteen and creates tetrahydraparmesanol and a precipitate of pwn juice?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:28 PM
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750

And again!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:28 PM
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751

It wasn't necessary. No one has ever masturbated to Al Haig, except Al Haig, who is dead, and has therefore made the proper observance by virtue of precipitating the need to observe it.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:29 PM
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752

Or rather former Secretary of State, Security Advisor, Chief of Staff and NATO Supreme Commander.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:29 PM
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753

752: and, briefly, imaginary acting President.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:31 PM
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754

Well, good riddance to bad rubbish, in any case.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:31 PM
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755

I AM IN CONTROL HERE!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ZOMBIE ALEXANDER HAIG | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:31 PM
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756

He proved, once and for all, that Secretary of States are not made of molasses around a wire frame.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:33 PM
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757

The folks at Alinea should arrange their morsels in the shape of a duck-rabbit, just to piss off people who like foreground and background to be different things.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:35 PM
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758

Food that exists in 2.5 dimensions is fun at first, but are you really saying it's an objective improvement in some way?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:37 PM
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759

Food with fractal dimensions: The smaller the bites you take, the more it tastes like itself.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:41 PM
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760

Considering that A is A, I'd say that's an objective improvement.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:41 PM
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761

759: sure but then you say "oh I'll just nibble around the edges" and you're there forever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:42 PM
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762

Don't you run over a quantum turtle at some point?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:44 PM
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763

757: Standpipe is messing with things, I tell you what.

Invert, subvert and otherwise convert Beethoven's Fifth and Macarthur Park, and then we'll talk. It will be a big fight if you kill the author!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:45 PM
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764

You know Secretary Haig hated that nickname.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:45 PM
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765

I'm always-already messing with things. Being-toward-messing-with-things is a condition of my possibility.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:48 PM
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766

Standpipe Bridgeplate, affine mess transformation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:50 PM
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767

I aspire to be a involution. But these things take time.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 10:55 PM
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768

a duck-rabbit, just to piss off people who like foreground and background to be different things.

The hare-duck-head isn't really a foreground/background thing.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:08 PM
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769

Looked at from a different angle, it is.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:11 PM
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770

I've just spent a few minutes on thesaurus.com looking for the word I want. It's obviously late that I would do this. Prankster, fool. I've got those, that's not it. Harlequin, jokester, no, I've got those too, right direction but no.

But this thesaurus.com has, like, graphic displays of relationships between word and conceptual groups. And stuff. Huh, distracting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:22 PM
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771

Agitator? Instigator? Rascal? Scalawag? Slyboots? Grimalkin?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:25 PM
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772

Saboteur? Knockabout? Hustler? Ne'er-do-well?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:29 PM
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773

Rapscallion? Roustabout? Runagate? Regimental bhisti?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:40 PM
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774

No no no. I expect to dream about it, well, and come up with it by the light of day. A friend referred to himself with this term, and it was apt, so it's not like I don't know what it is.

Slyboots is close to the sense.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:43 PM
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775

I like "roustabout" and "slyboots".

Trickster? Imp?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:44 PM
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776

Andrew Wyke: You said everything was in plain view!
Milo Tindle: Well aren't I the shifty old slyboots.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:45 PM
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777

Scamp?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:52 PM
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778

Trickster?

For the win! Excellent, thanks, neb.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-24-10 11:58 PM
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779

Food with fractal dimensions

Been there, done that.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:14 AM
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780

Google scholar turns up:

"Fractal techniques can be particularly useful tools for characterizing food morphology because the highly irregular structures of many food materials elude precise quantification by conventional means."

I'm not sure they're using "useful" in any recognizable sense here. They're just playing with their food, probably. I'm too lazy to log in and try to download the PDF, though.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:22 AM
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781

OK, fine, the Mandelbroccoli is fractal in appearance, but I was referring to flavor, not presentation.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:22 AM
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Fractal flavor is kind of trivial, isn't it? A big piece of chocolate tastes like a little piece of chocolate, which tastes like a medium-size piece of chocolate.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:26 AM
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On the other hand a big gulp of scotch is so much worse than a little sip of scotch. Broken scale symmetry, hooray!

My god, I need sleep.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:28 AM
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784

Fractal flavor is kind of trivial, isn't it?

I don't know where you physicists get these nonsense ideas.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 12:30 AM
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What is the music that's left when you've extracted the performative aspects?

The score?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 1:39 AM
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786

The score isn't really music, though, is it? So much as it's a set of instructions for rendering the music. It's like the difference between the blueprint for a house and the house itself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 2:41 AM
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Well, no. But my point was that once you've extracted the performative aspects of the music, there isn't actually much left at all, except the theoretical possibility of another performance. How far that further performance recapitulates previous ones - how far it's the same music - isn't, I think, an easy question to answer. At the very least it's dependent on more variables than I can think about at this hour of the morning.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 2:58 AM
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788

I seem to recall we've been here before, but I'm just doing my bit to take this thread to 1,000.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:10 AM
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Yeah, I wouldn't disagree with 787.

Have you heard any of the Zenph reperformances? Those take that to another level, as they extract various performative elements from an existing recording, and then 'reperform' those elements. Their process is a little like generating a hyper-detailed score from the combination of the original score and a transcription of a particular token performance, and then performing that.

[And I'd like to go on the record as wanting my music performance with all the ocelots and ostrich feathers and baroque over the top performance that the performers fancy, thanks!]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:22 AM
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Even with something like classic 1950s jazz, which, in terms of the recording technology used and the performance techniques is about as stripped back as it can get -- basically four or five guys standing in front of some microphones playing live to two or three track tape -- there's still layers of image and performance there.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:36 AM
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Jazz is particularly bad, isn't it, because the performance is particularly vital, no? I mean, one can sensibly say: that time von Karajan conducted Beethoven he fucked up, but it is very hard to say: oh, Ellington screwed up that performance, because jazz is very dependent on the notion of doing.

(Likewise most pop music actually. The idea there's some essence-of-pop-music out there is bizarre; there's the actual recording, and there's the actual band, but authenticity such as it is derives thereof, not the other way around.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:46 AM
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789. No, I haven't heard that. Sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I'd want to listen to it every day...

I generally agree with you that a bit of a show never did music any harm, although I confess to liking my symphony orchestras in evening dress. On the other hand, if Springsteen wants to work in jeans and a tee while e.g. Bowie circa Ziggy cross-dressed his band in full make up, I'm not going to make a fuss about either. Who rocked harder? Search me.

Slightly off topic, the only time I ever saw Muddy play live, the whole band wore tuxes except Charlie Musselwhite, who was in jeans and a tee. I wonder who was the only white guy in the band? I wonder if this signified anything...


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:48 AM
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re: 792

They did a version of the Glenn Gould "Goldbergs" which I listen to quite a lot. It's indistinguishable from a 'real' performance -- they create a high-resolution transcription of Gould, and then it's re-performed digitally on a real piano -- so if you want a good idea of what Gould would have sounded like on a modern piano, in a very good modern recording studio, and without all the infernal groaning, then it's good.

Lots of people find it totally heretical, of course.

http://www.zenph.com/sept25.html

There are some clips on that page.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:53 AM
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it is very hard to say: oh, Ellington screwed up that performance, because jazz is very dependent on the notion of doing.

Sort of disagree - and I'm sure Ellington would disagree as well. You could say "I heard Ellington play X last night and he wasn't nearly as good as when he played it last year". It's a bit more difficult to say "Ellington playing X isn't as good as Gillespie playing X". But it's as difficult to say "Karajan conducting Y isn't as good as Solti conducting Y."


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 3:58 AM
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re: 791

I'm not sure Ellington is the best example, given that it's quite heavily orchestrated music with solos.

There is a sense that you can't claim that a soloist 'fucked up' -- there's no score being followed -- but you can certainly prefer a particular piece of improv to another, or one performance of a piece of orchestrated/arranged jazz to another. [As, on preview, ajay says in 794]


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:02 AM
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791. ajay got there first. And of course that first point applies to any music that's heavily improvisational ("You know, Bach's toccata after this morning's service was really a bit substandard. I wonder if the old boy's losing it?").

The Ellington/Gillespie, Karajan/Solti issue is that they're actually trying to do quite different things with their performances. I may be more sympathetic to Solti than Karajan and therefore prefer to listen to him, but that doesn't mean Karajan is doing what he does badly.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:06 AM
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Multiply pwned.


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:09 AM
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796 reminds me of the (too good to check) story that Bach wrote the Toccata and Fugue in D in order to show off just how better the new organ in the Nikolaikirche was than all the other organs in the city. I picture him sitting down at the manuals and muttering "Can you do this, bitches?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:12 AM
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But that notion of preference is different from a notion of getting it right: it is more subjective, I think.

Like, that performance was very swift/sharp/harsh, and that one wasn't. But ascribing correctness to one version or the other is pretty tendentious, but what if the band were feeling harsh.swift.sharp that evening? There's a legitimate claim that's part of the music, in a way it isn't for the Fifth.

I mean, one can say Karajan is very bombastic, and that's what he's going for. But I shouldn't think that if Beethoven disagreed one could support him against the Great Man.

But because jazz music arises out of the performance (one wants to say: work creates work) you couldn't really say that.

But yea, you (where you is the British) are probably right.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:14 AM
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I picture him sitting down at the manuals and muttering "Can you do this, bitches?"

There's a story I believe to be true that some young whippersnapper was playing warm-up for Satch in the 40s and ended his set on a string of high Cs, to demonstrate that the great man's set piece wasn't all that. So Armstrong came on and started by blowing a high F, cold.

I suspect cutting contests are as old as music (which according to some theories means older than hom. sap.)


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:21 AM
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But because jazz music arises out of the performance (one wants to say: work creates work) you couldn't really say that.

There's a continuum in jazz, though, between highly orchestrated material which is, to all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from classical music with the cadenzas still improvised, and very free performances on the other hand.* To the extent that you can make sense of a notion of correctness for classical performance you can apply the same notion to material in other genres that fall in a similar place on the orchestrated<--->arranged continuum.

* by which I mean free in terms of orchestration, not 'free' in terms of the sound we associate with 'free jazz'. Lots of swing music and bop and post-bop jazz doesn't sound like 'free jazz' but, nevertheless, involved skeletal or non-existent arrangements.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:21 AM
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... by which I mean free in terms of orchestration, not 'free' in terms of the sound we associate with 'free jazz'. Lots of swing music and bop and post-bop jazz doesn't sound like 'free jazz' but, nevertheless, involved skeletal or non-existent arrangements.

Which is another question in itself, why _does_ so much 'free' improv sound exactly the fecking same all the time?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:25 AM
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That should have been the 'orchestrated<--->free' continuum.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:26 AM
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802. Hypothesis: that for free improv to be meaningful there has to be some agreement among the participants as to the base line (not the bass line); the freer the improv, the more pared down the agreed rules; but human ingenuity is limited in how far it can develop original ideas on an idea in real time; therefore the simpler the ideas, the more repetitive the improv.

Can you tell I don't really like free jazz?


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:32 AM
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re: 804

Yeah, there's endless hours of recordings of 'skronk-whee' free improv. It seems so not-free and lacking in imagination. There's stuff that isn't like that, though. Joe Harriot's stuff, which was very early, has moments that are really not like that at all, despite the entire recording being free jazz in the modern sense.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:39 AM
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* by which I mean free in terms of orchestration, not 'free' in terms of the sound we associate with 'free jazz'. Lots of swing music and bop and post-bop jazz doesn't sound like 'free jazz' but, nevertheless, involved skeletal or non-existent arrangements.

Yes. But it is hard I think to say that jazz gets mood wrong, no? It isn't just the obvious playing-the-wrong-notes thing, there's also the playing the notes the wrong way thing. Because I think jazz privileges the player's self-expression (and I am probably wrong about that so.) I think it is hard to say the mood is wrong in the same way one can so say of ``classical'' music.

I suppose: classical music privileges the composer's subjectivity (or objectivity) while jazz privileges the performer's subjectivity.

Anyway, I am both talking out my arse and going to bed, so.

Evening all.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:42 AM
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But yea, you (where you is the British) are probably right.

I'm starting to like this conversation.

why _does_ so much 'free' improv sound exactly the fecking same all the time?

Improv is born free but is everywhere in B flat.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 4:45 AM
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The score isn't really music, though, is it? So much as it's a set of instructions for rendering the music.

This is like saying a book, a novel, is an actual text without a reader. Or if it isn't, I would like to hear why it isn't.

I thought we settled this in the 80s.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 7:34 AM
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809

Free jazz: you get what you pay for!


Posted by: honigessig | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 10:37 AM
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810

Bob Brookmeyer certainly seems to think a composer can fuck up, and near as I can tell (no, I haven't read The Jazz Composer) Graham Collier does too.

So much as it's a set of instructions for rendering the music.

Inevitably incomplete instructions, more incomplete depending on era, of course.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 10:43 AM
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re: 810

Interesting, re: Collier. I've never read anything he's written, but I've gotten quite into some of his 1970s music over the past couple of years.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 10:53 AM
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I mean brookmeyer thinks the soloist can fuck up.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 11:01 AM
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He just put out an apparently quite good album, Directing 14 Jackson Pollocks, which I had hoped to pick up at Amoeba yesterday—instead I got New Conditions for no doubt much less than the new disc would have cost.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 11:03 AM
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re: 813

My favourite, is, I think, Down Another Road, although I have Darius, Day of the Dead, Songs for My Father, and I think one other. Pretty sure I've not heard New Conditions.

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:f9foxqq0ldke

I'm a bit of a sucker for that late 60s through to mid 70s Brit-jazz sound.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-10 11:07 AM
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